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We speak with the President and CFO of DG Fuels LLC about producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and the Co-Founder and Chief AI at Fetcherr about continuous pricing models for airlines. We also take a look back at 2022.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Christopher J. Chaput is the President of DG Fuels, LLC. He has over 23 years of experience as an executive, an investment banker, a restructuring advisor and investor, primarily in the aviation sector.
DG Fuels is developing a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production facility at Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone, Maine, the former Loring Air Force Base. Chris explains SAF and biofuels and describes how the DG Fuels process uses waste timber products and stranded electricity to make SAF efficiently and sustainably. An existing pipeline to the coast will facilitate the transport of the SAF to Boston and New York markets.
Prior to DG Fuels, Chris was a partner in and co-founder of RPK Capital Management, investing in commercial aircraft and other aviation-related assets. Chris was a partner and head of the Structured Finance Group at the Seabury Group where he arranged secured financings of aircraft and other assets. Chris was a senior member of the advisory team that represented US Airways in its merger with America West Airlines and that restructured US Airways, Air Canada, and Northwest Airlines in bankruptcy. Prior to that he structured and executed public and private aircraft-backed secured bonds at Morgan Stanley. Early in his career, Chris was the Managing Director-Corporate Finance at Northwest Airlines.
Chris earned his B.A. from Creighton University, magna cum laude, and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he also taught Business Planning for two years as an adjunct professor.
Continuous pricing models for airlines
Dr. Uri Yerushalmi is the co-founder and chief AI officer at Fetcherr, an Israeli tech company that developed a proprietary AI-powered engine that predicts demand and enables continuous pricing for the airline industry. The company was founded in 2019 by experts rooted in deep learning, algorithmic trading, e-commerce, and the digitization of legacy architecture.
Uri explains the continuous pricing approach and how that can solve airline challenges and maximize revenue. Airlines typically employ dynamic pricing where the prices are bucketed into certain levels and change infrequently. Under a continuous pricing model, the price can be set at any level. Dynamic pricing is all that was allowed by the technology in the 80s. Now, however, deep learning and reinforcement learning technology can predict the behavior of the market by considering factors such as travel origins, destinations, number of stops, days of advance purchase, stay days, capacity (load factor), seasonality, and time of day.
Old pricing models are inefficient and utilize “middlemen” that introduce an added cost. Uri tells us that the efficiency of continuous pricing models negates the need for middlemen and creates a revenue uplift for the airlines.
Fetcherr technology is running live now with low-cost Azul Airlines. The company is onboarding a large traditional global airline and exploring advanced functionality with another major airline.
2022 I Can Hardly Remember
Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us his year-in-review piece. He originally thought 2022 was pretty quiet for him aviation-wise, but when he reflected on it Micah realized that quite a lot actually happened. 2022 was very much an #AvGeek year for Micah.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.