Come March booking a seat on a helicopter will be just a tap of an app away. Fly Blade, the largest arranger of helicopter flights for civilian travel in the US, is starting its services in the country through a joint venture with local venture capital firm Hunch Ventures. The new company, Blade India, will offer intercity helicopter services, though it will be initially available only in Mumbai.Flights would depart from Juhu and Mahalaxmi, connecting with heliports in Pune and Shirdi. It aims to eventually offer services on intra-city routes.
In the US, Blade has often been called “the Uber of helicopters”, though there is no connection between the two. However, like cab aggregation Uber, Blade doesn’t helicopter.
“we follow an asset-light model and don’t have any helicopter of our own,” said Rob Wiesenthal, chief executive of Blade.”India, we will operate a niche service but this service will eventually grow.”He added that a single successful helicopter route in India has the potential to out platform the revenue Blade generates form its operations in the USin a year.Blade India will expend its services to connect cities with sites of pilgrimage and weekend getaways. It also plans to implement modern technologies such as electric vertical take off landing (eVTOL) in the country.
“India’s major cities are consistently ranked as the most congested in the world,” Wiesenthal said.”By broadening access to on -demand aviation, we can start to mitigate these issues today, while building the foundation for e VTOL services tomorrow.”
Hunch Ventures’ founder Karanpal Singh, said his company had made long term investment in the alliance.
“Given the challenges of building transportation infrastructure in our country, we will utilise India’s existing network of heliports to launch an urban air mobility solution immediately,”