Yugo Cambodia’s ‘Uber of the skies’ takes off

Gareth Johnson

Yugo Private Aviation, describes itself as a facilitator for those needing private air transport, be it short helicopter trips, international charter flights or private jets has now begun offering its full range of services.

In October last year, Yugo Global Industries raised $300,000 in the pre-seed funding round in as reported by Cambodia Investment Review.

The funding was to go towards setting up both their online booking system and mobile applications which will be ready “imminently” according to Yugo’s marketing and sales manager Jonathan Lee speaking inclusively with Cambodia Investment Review.

To read more about Yugo’s pre-seed funding click here.

What services does Yugo offer and how much does it cost?

According to Lee the company was operating as a one-stop-shop for private charter flights, the first such company to do so in Cambodia in what has become less “exclusive” and much more desirable a concept since the start of the pandemic.

“The private aviation industry used to be a very closed off one, but through the use of the forthcoming app, or by getting a quote directly from us, people can get access to a private jet, or helicopter hire. In many cases, people are genuinely surprised by how affordable it can be,” Lee explained.

One example of this Lee gave was charter flights to Bangkok, something the company was increasingly finding popular with its customer base.

“You can get an 8 seat plane to Bangkok for roughly $12,000 – which when divided makes this not all that different from flying first class. Couple this in with the much larger baggage allowance and it genuinely becomes an attractive alternative, particularly for shoppers, both financially and logistically,” he said.

“In addition, customers can travel at ease with preferred timing and dates as well as the benefit of arriving in the terminal 15 minutes before check in and security check instead of 2-3 hours before for international flights and 90 minutes for domestic flights,” he added.

Yet while cost-effectiveness and opening up to a wider audience were part of the plan, the company was still aiming toward the higher-end of the market, with company CEO and Co-Founder Jim Baldy adding: “Yugo has significantly strengthened its position in the market and has already organized flights and services for some of Asia’s top VIP’s.”

When it comes to services offered Baldy explained the range of possibilities for the company: “Yugo offers the entire spectrum of services to customer segments covering private jets and helicopter charter flights, cargo flights, air ambulance, lifestyle and concierge services, aircraft acquisition and more,” Baldy said.

“Our international team brings invaluable expertise and allows Yugo to comply with standards of service and security,” he added.

What is the Yugo company model?

According to Lee, the company does not own any aircraft itself, nor was it planning to do so, at least in the short to medium term, which is what led to the “Uber of the skies” remark.

“We are kind of like Grab Taxi, or Uber to an extent, although rather than the airline’s pilots, or owners working for us, we merely act as the facilitator, connecting clients and fixing their flight needs”.

With the company’s website and application now up and running business has been steady. “We now do multiple flights per month and have arranged over 100 flights since our inception. Most of our clients have come from word of mouth, but we expect demand to boom after the launch of the app. Essentially it is free and anyone will be able to use it to search and book the best jets to fit their needs,” he added.

Private aviation is an industry that market insiders see as one that will continue to see growth. According to the International Airport Review, demand for private charters went up 7.7 percent in 2021, with the industry as a whole is expected to be worth a whopping $27 billion in 2022.

Private aviation and the high-end tourism market in Cambodia

Yugo and its application could also potentially help exponentially concerning the mid to high-end tourist industry within the country, with Lee explaining: “Taking a helicopter from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and thus Angkor Wat would cost around $6,000 with a capacity for five passengers. Not only would this help with the current lack of flights, but would also reduce the journey time to around one hour,” he said.

The concept could also be used to help with regard to the cruise industry in Cambodia, which has often been criticized for not letting people see enough of the Kingdom, as well as a general lack of things to do in Sihanoukville.

Through the app travel agents and cruise operators would be able to run bespoke trips to places such as Angkor Wat, and, or Phnom Penh with guests being able to see Cambodia’s main tourist attractions with a “ship friendly” one-day turnaround.

And last, but by no means least, something that is available in many countries, the so-called “joyride”, with Lee explaining: “A 15-minute joyride in a helicopter around Phnom Penh would cost around $600 for five passengers, making it more than affordable for literally anyone who simply wants to try flying in a helicopter,” he added.

For those not ready to wait for the introduction of the website and app the company can be contacted for a quote through the following channels:

[email protected]

+855 965388898

+65 87645938

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