Earlier this month, Uber Technologies Inc. started testing an on-demand helicopter service in New York City. The concept behind Uber Chopper is rather simple and similar to the ride-hailing giant's taxi app - only in this case, teh passenger commutes on a helicopter instead of a car. And now, Airbus is planning to enter this new segment in taxi-hailing through a brand called Voom.
Airbus-backed Voom currently operates in San Francisco and two other cities in Brazil and Mexico. According to a Fast Company report, two-year-old Voom will now be adding more locations to its app-based helicopter-hailing service this year.
Voom has not yet revealed exactly where will it operate its air taxis so it isn't yet known whether it'll compete directly with Uber Chopper. Voom's announcement comes just days after Uber announced its helicopter shuttle service between Manhattan and nearby JFK Airport. The service is due for launch next month.
Using the tagline, “Book in seconds, fly in minutes,” Voom promises that its fares will be “competitive with ground alternatives.” Looking at its San Francisco service as a guide, flights of seven minutes are likely to cost around $150 (approximately Rs 10,400).
Helicopters have been whisking travelers from Manhattan to nearby airports for decades. Now, a startup called Blade Urban Air Mobility Inc. even lets customers book using an app. It currently offers regular flights from Manhattan to three airports six days a week for as little as $195. “There may be no greater validation of Blade’s strategy than Uber entering the urban air mobility market in New York City,” said Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal
As Uber geared up last month for America’s largest initial public offering since 2014, the company emphasized its investment in various modes of transportation. In addition to the world’s largest ride-hailing service for cars, it operates self-driving vehicles, electric bicycles, scooter rentals and now helicopters.