Airbus talks up urban air mobility
Airbus Helicopters has announced a partnership with Fly Blade — a helicopter hailing service — to expand new market opportunities for on-demand helicopter services.
Airbus Helicopters and Fly Blade (or Blade) — a 2014 start-up offering helicopter hailing services in seven U.S. states — have signed a strategic partnership to develop new premium on-demand helicopter flight experiences, paving the way for what it calls “enhanced urban air mobility solutions”.
The partnership with Blade follows hard on the heels of the company's tieup with Voom, the helicopter taxi service operating in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Voom was initially incubated at the Airbus A3 advanced projects centre in Silicon Valley.
Matthieu Louvot, Executive Vice President of Customer Support and Services for Airbus Helicopters, explains that the Blade partnership is a foundation for the next step, “the successful deployment of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) systems.”
According to Airbus, Blade arranges more civilian transport by helicopter than any other company in the U.S. Airbus Helicopters hopes to incorporate Blade’s unique expertise with premium services such as comprehensive booking and operator technology platforms, “gate to helicopter” airport transfers, multi-state lounge network and high touchpoint customer experience into its overall on-demand helicopter services portfolio.
Airbus describes these new urban air mobility (UAM) services as a pillar of the company's vision for the future of electronic vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) systems. On the platform and air traffic management side, Airbus says it is working on a series of innovations to develop a game-changing offer in the eVTOL marketplace.
Current Airbus UAM projects include the four passenger, self-piloted CityAirbus eVTOL demonstrator; the single passenger, self-piloted Vahana eVTOL aircraft by A3; the Altiscope project by A3 helping to shape future regulations and air traffic control requirements to safely integrate eVTOL aircraft in urban skies; and autonomous urban parcel delivery by drones through the Skyways project.