Beginning on July 9, Uber Copter plans to supplement BLADE’s continuous helicopter service between NYC and JFK with its own urban air mobility initiative.
Uber’s newest service plans to provide passengers with on-demand flights between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport. In contrast to BLADE’s service, Uber will initially offer their service only to Platinum or Diamond members of Uber Rewards, the airlines-style rewards program the company launched last year. Members will be able to hail rides on-demand, or up to five days in advance. Each flight will include travel by car to the helipad in Manhattan.
Uber advertises that the service will come at a price around $200-$225 and aims to get passengers from Manhattan to JFK in 30 minutes or less total trip time. The helicopter ride itself is estimated at only eight minutes. Compared to the 1-2 hours it could take to drive or take a taxi from Manhattan to JFK, this is a huge time saver for those willing to spend the money. The service is predominantly marketed extremely wealthy individuals and business travelers, given the $200 price per seat.
The Uber Copters will have space for a maximum of five passengers, but only allow one personal item and one carry-on per passenger. This will not be an issue for people already traveling without checked bags, and is similar to the current offering from BLADE. Uber Copter will be marginally more expensive than BLADE’s advertised price of $195, but still offers a competitive rate.
Why it’s important: Uber Copter is setting up its operational infrastructure for eVTOL operation, but will use traditional helicopters as the technology continues to be developed. The company’s entry into the NYC urban air mobility market marks the second large company to do so – after BLADE Urban Air Mobility – and will set the stage for when eVTOL technology is ready to enter service.
Learn more about the plans for Uber Elevate here.
Sources // The New York Times; The Verge