Los Angeles Business Journal

FlightCar Expands Car Sharing to LAX

By Natalie Jarvey Originally published November 13, 2013 at 3:48 p.m., updated November 13, 2013 at 5:36 p.m.

The car-sharing market at Los Angeles International Airport is getting a little more crowded.

Bay Area startup FlightCar announced Wednesday that it has begun offering car rentals at LAX.

FlightCar lets people to drop off their cars at a lot near LAX where they are washed and stored for the duration of the travelers' trip. The catch: FlightCar might rent the vehicle to a visitor in need of four-wheel transportation.

The company charges less than a standard car rental service, and it hopes to lure car owners by waiving expensive airport parking fees and giving them a portion of the rental income.

FlightCar already services San Francisco International Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport. Co-founder and Chief Executive Rujul Zaparde said Los Angeles was the logical next expansion for the company.

"There is a large amount of cross traffic from San Francisco, Boston and L.A.," he said. "Los Angeles is the second largest car rental market in the U.S. Everybody drives here and there's not so much public transit."

FlightCar has a 150-car lot off Bellanca Avenue near rental car services Dollar and Enterprise. The company drops people off at their terminal and picks them up from baggage using a black Town Car.

The company has faced some setbacks up north. The city of San Francisco sued FlightCar in June alleging that the company was operating illegally at the airport because it didn't pay fees for its curbside service.

But Zaparde said he doesn't expect similar problems at LAX.

"LAX is much more lax, no pun intended," he said. "There are a lot of companies that are picking up and dropping off and they don't pay LAX. It’s easier for us to pick up here and not have to deal with other airport rules."

FlightCar will compete locally with Encino car-sharing service Hubber, which has operated out of LAX since June. A recent search on the Hubber website indicated that seven vehicles were available to rent via Hubber this weekend at LAX.

The Hubber site also says service at San Francisco International Airport is coming soon.

Zaparde said FlightCar has a simpler rental process than Hubber, which requires that the owner create an online profile to rent the vehicle prior to the trip. FlightCar also provides free parking whether or not the car is rented, while Hubber only provides parking if the car has a rental reservation.

Hubber founder Paul Davis said he looks to rental car services, not other car-sharing services as the company’s main competitor.

"Having multiple companies with slightly different models proving out this space will lead to great awareness and adoption," he said. "There's room for both of us with over 30 rental agencies at LAX alone."

*This story was updated to include a statement from Hubber founder Paul Davis.