Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Uber to start helicopter service

Uber to start helicopter service

After taking on the roads, Uber is now spreading its wings into the air by announcing its helicopter riding service called Uber Copter. Only Platinum and Diamond members of Uber's loyalty program, Uber Rewards, will be able to book Uber Copter rides. Customers can book up to five days in advance and the average ride will cost between United States dollars 200 and USD 225 per person. For now, the flights will be from between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport which is an eight-minute flight and an hours vehicle ride.

Uber Copter's helicopter service will be operated by Newark-based HeliFlite.

Uber says the service is meant to give them insight as they continue to develop Uber Air.

Uber believes it can cut the travel time between Manhattan and JFK - typically between one and two hours, depending on mode of transit - to 30 minutes. Once a user reserves a seat, they will receive an email confirmation and boarding pass from Uber.

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The company is planning to expand the availability of Uber Copter over the coming weeks and months, testing the launch for a future aerial ride-sharing network, according to an Uber spokesperson. Allison is the head of Uber Elevate, the company's division dedicated to kick-off Uber's attempt at introducing aerial ride-hailing, which began three years ago. The flights, which take off from near the Staten Island Ferry and land at a helipad near Terminal 8, will run Monday through Friday during afternoon rush hour.

For a more specific breakdown of how it all works, up to five riders per trip will fly with two pilots in a twin-engine helicopter that operates weekdays from 7AM to 7PM and on Sundays from 2PM to 7PM.

"The ride-hail giant will not only contend with several other helicopter companies in Manhattan offering a similar type of service, but also with groups protesting against the use of commercial flights over the Big Apple", Uber's head of aviation, Nikhil Goel, said in a blog post.

Many helicopters, including those to be used by Uber Copter, have neither the space nor the weight capacity to accommodate large bags.

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