Ascent Urban Air Mobility, a new aerial mobility company, has announced that it will commence services in Thailand by the end of this year. Although Ascent currently uses traditional helicopters, its aerial mobility business model follows those that will soon come with advanced electric VTOLS. Ascent first launched in the Philippines around May of 2019.
Although charter helicopters have existed in Thailand (mainly for tourism), Ascent’s offering will now serve transportation needs between major activity centers such as Bangkok, Chonburi, and Rayong, and leisure destinations such as Hua Hin or Pattaya. Unlike any other helicopter service in the area, Ascent offers by-the-seat booking through a smartphone app. Ascent’s mission is to enable busy customers to skip traffic and reach remote destinations with ease and now (with the advent of COVID-19) minimized physical contact. By serving these hubs, Ascent aims at contributing to the growth of businesses and the economy in line with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand 4.0, and Smart City initiatives. Seat prices will start at about the equivalent of $250 USD.
Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff, one of the founders of Ascent, said, “The dynamism of Bangkok combined with this new context (COVID-19), makes mobility a great challenge for the business community, commuters, and tourists. This in turn effects the economy, the environment, and people’s well-being. In addition, public economic initiatives like the EEC require enhanced mobility solutions. With Ascent, we believe we can elevate mobility to the skies to better connect locations and skip traffic seamlessly in a safe and more affordable manner. We are excited to open this new chapter of Ascent with partners such as Advance Aviation and SFS Aviation, which have driven the industry in Thailand for so long and will ensure our users with the highest operational and safety standards.”
Why it’s import: Although other urban air mobility companies based in the U.S use a similar business model to Ascent (such as BLADE Urban Air Mobility and Uber Copter), Ascent’s launch in Thailand will make the country one of Asia’s first to host aerial mobility services. Ascent’s customer sourcing and management as well as fleet management softwares will likely plug into more advanced electric aircraft once they become available.