Luggage Delivery Service AirPortr Secures $2.6-Million Investment

AirPortr has established product/market fit for its baggage concierge service, and is scaling up with a £2-million investment from Stobart Group.

In aiming to tackle the persistent problem of baggage management, AirPortr has moved over 47,000 pieces of luggage since its 2016 launch. Riding a growing wave of popularity, the London-based startup has recently locked down a £2 million (USD$2.6 million) investment from Stobart Group, which owns and operates London Southend and Carlisle Lake District airports.

The investment is also a co-branding move: The Stobart Aviation logo will start appearing on AirPortr’s fleet of luggage-transport vans. In announcing the move, AirPortr wrote, “AirPortr and Stobart will work together to improve the customer experience by taking the logistical strain away from airlines and airports and easing the hassle of luggage transport, bag drop and check-in for travelers.”

AirPortr picks up travelers’ luggage, delivers it to the airport and may or may not check it, depending on the airline. The service also delivers luggage from the airport to a customer’s city destination. This suits travelers who have things to do on the way to or from the airport – AirPortr steps in, between passenger and airport, easing the logistical burden on both.

“London airports are at peak capacity and this is having a major knock-on effect on customer experience,” said Stobart Group CEO Warwick Brady, in a press release. “We believe that there are opportunities to improve the experience throughout the aviation supply chain; from hassle-free airports, to well managed and efficient luggage handling. We’re excited to support AirPortr, a business with logistics at its heart, to become another key component to a vertically integrated aviation business capable of improving airport capacity.”

“We can confirm that our next airline customer will be going live with our bag check-in service here in London, next month.” – Randel Darby, AirPortr CEO

AirPortr launched with an exclusive partnership with British Airways for flights in and out of London, but change is in the air. “Whilst we can’t give any names before they can be officially announced, we can confirm that our next airline customer will be going live with our bag check-in service here in London, next month,” AirPortr CEO Randel Darby told APEX Media. “We have more in the pipeline for early 2018, and we’re seeing interest from both full-service and low-cost carriers.”

Looking beyond Britain, the startup is considering expanding into the US and the Middle East. “A recent survey has shown that 51% of users of the bag check-in service said they use it for transatlantic commuting, with JFK being the most popular destination,” said Darby. “The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] is also an interesting market opportunity for us as there is a culture [in which] passengers are used to traveling with portered luggage, so you don’t have the hurdle of trying to change behavior.”

Besides business travelers, AirPortr’s target market also consists of older flyers who want to add an element of luxury to their journey, as well as young families looking to avoid chaos and tantrums at the airport. Like any seemingly overnight success, AirPortr’s was years in the making: “In just over a month [after launching the service with BA], we went from concept to scaled-up airline delivery service operating at peak season,” said Darby. “What took time was in getting to that point. The service was 18 months in development and in consultation with airline and regulators, and six months of trials.”