BLADE Urban Air Mobility and fixed base operator Ross Aviation have entered into a strategic partnership to further the roll-out of urban air mobility services in certain areas. These regions will include areas where Ross Aviation and Blade operations overlap.
BLADE is a market leader in modern urban air mobility, having already created a large network of on-demand, by-the seat helicopter transportation options within many of the world’s major cities. By partnering with Ross Aviation, a nationwide operator of fixed base operation terminals at seventeen different airports, BLADE will launch a pilot program offering daily helicopter flights between Ross Aviation’s West Terminal at the Westchester County Airport and Blade heliport terminals in Manhattan to serve commuters from the Westchester/Connecticut area.
In addition, the two companies will create blueprints for an eVTOL vertiport located at the Westchester airport, as BLADE eventually plans to phase out its helicopter fleet in favor of eVTOL aircraft. The plans will include the infrastructure required to hangar, charge, stage and deploy eVTOLs.
According to Rob Wiesenthal, CEO of BLADE: “Even with the expected increase of remote working post-pandemic, we believe that intermittent commuting of one to two times per week between the suburbs and New York City will be a reality. Congestion on tri-state area roads is now estimated at 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Given the combination of being near Uber Black pricing at $175, and the time savings of an approximately 12-minute flight, this service makes sense today and over the long term.”
A recent press release detailed the companies’ plan to launch a pilot program offering daily helicopter flights between Ross Aviation’s West Terminal at the Westchester County Airport (the “Airport”) and Blade heliport terminals in Manhattan. “In 2019 alone, these commuters took more than 40 million trips commuting to and from New York City, the majority driving alone in a car for 1-2 hours in each direction.
Blade expects the five-day-per-week service to begin as early as March 2021, transforming that 1-2 hour drive into a 10-15 minute flight.” Blade also has plans to offer commuter passes in an effort to reduce the per seat cost to $95.
Why it’s important: The collaboration of these two companies represents the beginning of the transition from traditional urban travel to the advent of eVTOL. Through this partnership, BLADE will utilize Ross Aviation’s operator expertise to first introduce its helicopter fleet to commuting, and then eventually, its eVTOL fleet.