Wavepilot was featured in the March issue of AIN Online. Here’s what they said:
Wavepilot Launches Fuel Price RFQ System
Former FBO and flight department manager Alex Fisher launched a new system that allows aircraft owners/operators and dispatchers to request the best fuel prices from FBOs while planning a trip. Instead of looking up contract fuel prices or calling FBOs, Fisher’s new company, Wavepilot, allows fuel buyers to post a request for quote (RFQ) that invites FBOs to offer their best price. “We’re a reverse auction in that sellers compete for buyers’ business,” Fisher explained. “Instead of prices being bid up, prices are bid down.”
Fisher researched the potential of an RFQ-based fuel-quoting system then began engineering Wavepilot a year ago before running beta tests last year and formally launching the product at the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers meeting in late January. “It’s tedious to have to shop for fuel,” he said, and often pilots or dispatchers end up settling for what they think is the best price. “We’re creating an online marketplace,” he said, “an environment where operators and FBOs can feel free to interact back and forth.”
FBOs that participate get to see competing FBOs’ lowest prices, and thus they can offer incentives or lower prices to secure the operator’s business. Some FBOs, for example, might add special pricing on de-icing or overnight hangar space or waive ramp fees. These offers can be sent privately to the operator.
Wavepilot allows the user to set an ending time for the RFQ, Fisher said, “just like on eBay [auctions].” Fisher expects operators to play FBOs against each other. “Savvy operators can take full advantage of the competitive environment,” he said, and he expects smart FBO owners will embrace Wavepilot as a means of bringing in new customers. To bring FBOs into the Wavepilot fold, Fisher’s team compiled a database of every general manager of every FBO in the U.S. so that they will receive the RFQs directly from potential customers. The benefit to FBOs is that Wavepilot allows customers and the FBO to communicate directly. “We’re simplifying that entire process,” he said.
According to Fisher, big FBO chains are allowing their FBO general managers to participate in Wavepilot. “Why would you not be in the game and participate in an opportunity to make a sale?” he asked. “It’s a completely new angle to buying and selling fuel.” Participation in Wavepilot is free for now; Fisher has not yet decided how to profit from the service, but he does plan eventually for Wavepilot to generate revenue.