Business Technology

Inspired by Airbnb and Uber, Rise takes to the sky for shared air travel in the UK

3 min read

16 June 2015

Former deputy editor

American air travel company Rise, which delivers a private flight sharing service, has revealed plans to expand beyond the US and into Europe with a view to become as disruptive as Uber and Airbnb.

Using a membership scheme that allows users to fly as much as they want for a monthly fee, Rise plans to start operating flights between London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris and Brussels in early 2016.

In the same way that car-based ride sharing is offered to consumers through the likes of Uber and Lyft, Rise will allow its European customers to share non-stop flights between the cities.

The international expansion follows a launch in its native US in 2015 and this particular market was chosen because “the UK and European market is crying out for better business travel,” according to Rise Europe chairman Aamer Sarfraz.

He said: “We will be rolling out multiple routes during 2016 and we are going to shake up business travel in the same way that Uber has shaken up taxis and Airbnb has disrupted the hotel market.”

With a focus on Britain, Rise will be well positioned to bolster the Sharing Economy UK trade body, which secured an additional five members in June. 

The board also revealed that since its launch in March, it had been working on defining the official meaning of the sector. “The sharing economy involves using internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people and organisations to make better use of goods, skills, services, capital and spaces,” it revealed.

Read more on the sharing economy:

In keeping with the private experience, Rise representatives greet passengers by name, while food and drink preferences are managed, as well as ground transportation which waits by the plain upon arrival.

The company claims it is experiencing rapid growth, which it puts down to a distinctive business model that saves approximately three hours per trip:

  • Use of a membership model, private aircrafts and central airports mean time is saved without excessive security and queuing. 
  • The booking process takes seconds, according to the firm, which is a result of a bespoke tech platform that supports member profiles, flight management, routes, seating and more.
  • Hybrid model means third party operators are able to offer flights through Rise. 

“When we launched Rise in the US in 2015, our goal was to make Rise rapidly scalable, allowing us to take this innovative concept to frequent business travellers around the world,” said Nick Kennedy, co-founder of Rise.

“Our expansion into the UK is simply a realisation of that goal. Our proprietary technology and our enhanced operations standards, already in use in Texas, allow us to licence and export our brand, our technology and our experience to just about anywhere.”