In a pairing reminiscent of The Odd Couple, startup software innovator ForeFlight and charting pioneer Jeppesen have formed an alliance they say will expand both companies’ market share in general, business, airline, and military aviation.
ForeFlight Mobile dominates the general aviation market, and its customers will, for the first time, have the option of downloading and displaying pro-favored Jeppesen terminal and en route charts. Meanwhile, Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro app is popular among corporate flight departments and airlines, and it will get enhanced mapping, ease of use, and weather powered by ForeFlight software running in the background.
The companies declined to discuss the terms of their deal, but Weihs said about 20 percent of ForeFlight’s workforce is focused on combining its app with Jeppesen’s worldwide aviation data.
For customers, the alliance won’t change subscription prices.
ForeFlight will continue to charge $99.99 a year (Basic Plus) and $199.99 a year (Pro Plus), and Jeppesen will still charge $199 annually for those wanting to use Jeppesen charts. ForeFlight customers with Jeppesen subscriptions will be able to download Jeppesen charts at the touch of an on-screen icon. Those who already have a Jeppesen subscription for their panel-mount systems can install the charts at no additional cost on ForeFlight.
The two companies have been competitors, but representatives of both firms said they’ve held on-again, off-again discussions for years about possible areas of cooperation. ForeFlight’s 2016 push into global mapping and international flight planning—a traditional Jeppesen strength—convinced them to come to terms.
“We can’t all do everything,” Weihs said. “There are more problems than any of us can solve on our own. It makes sense to cooperate.”
Reggie Arsenault, a Jeppesen manager for GA products, said the alliance promises to create a “consistent cockpit” for GA, business aviation, and airline pilots no matter what they fly.
“Corporate or airline pilots who fly recreationally will have access to the same information whether they’re flying for work or for fun,” he said.
Jeppesen was founded 80 years ago by a pioneer airmail pilot and has evolved to become a subsidiary of industry giant Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ForeFlight is nine years old and helped popularize iPads in the cockpit.
But ForeFlight’s Weihs said the two firms have similar roots.
“The essence of both companies starts with the pilot,” he said. “We’ll be able to deliver for pilots and flight operations.”