Blade Air Mobility announced today that they have entered into an agreement with Newport Helipad to operate and revitalize the Newport Helistop, denoted 91NJ, located in Newport, Jersey City, New Jersey. This area is one of the largest and most successful mixed-use communities on the Hudson River waterfront, and the agreement is subject to the execution of definitive documentation.
Blade plans to manage and operate the Helistop on behalf of Newport for both Blade flights and third-party operations. The Helistop is located on the Hudson River waterfront, approximately 3,800 feet from Manhattan. “All large communities will need an urban air mobility strategy to bolster their attractiveness to corporations and residents alike in an increasingly competitive market,” said Nate Alexander, Blade’s Senior Director, Rotorcraft Operations. Notably, this agreement will help to demonstrate the proper processes and working relationships required to safely grow urban air mobility in the greater New York City metropolitan area using conventional aircraft today, while preparing for the deployment of aerial mobility aircraft in the future.
Under the agreement, Blade will begin a pilot program for charter flights and explore the viability of the first-ever scheduled, by-the-seat service between the Helistop and local New York City area airports and heliports; the program will provide a convenient travel option for commuters, particularly for Newport tenants and employees of major banks and corporations that maintain large office presences around the Helistop. A flight from the Helistop to JFK Airport will take approximately 5 minutes versus up to 2 ½ hours by car.
In an effort to mitigate any potential noise impact on the neighboring communities, only helicopter flights for public transportation or emergency services will be permitted at the Helistop. Tourist flights, as well as helicopter operators who violate the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s designated noise abatement routing for tourist flights along the New Jersey and New York City Hudson River corridor, will not be allowed to utilize the Helistop.
The agreement will also provide Blade with the opportunity to construct an exclusive-use, Blade branded terminal at the Helistop to facilitate safe and efficient operations for Blade flights and provide lounge amenities for Blade fliers.
Why it’s important: This agreement is the first of its kind in 13 years in the NYC area, as opening new or reopening existing heliports and vertical aircraft operation locations requires a large amount of coordination and approvals. BLADE’s ability to successfully execute this deal serves as a case study for future expansions in the area. Further, it underscores the types of working relationships needed for continuing growth as additional routes come to fruition for advanced aerial mobility deployment and the continuing commercialization of last-mile urban transportation, thereby relieving road congestion and reducing carbon emissions.