Uber partners with Airbus on new helicopter service

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By Larry Banks

Cab-hailing company Uber is to offer helicopter rides around Utah during this month’s Sundance Film Festival, with Airbus supplying the choppers.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Airbus’ CEO Tom Enders said “It’s a pilot project, we’ll see where it goes – but it’s pretty exciting”. Details of the partnership are thin on the ground, however the report says Airbus will “provide” helicopters for Uber’s chopper services in future. It’s still up in the air whether Uber will itself buy the helicopters, but that would be a huge change for the company which uses independent drivers to provide its regular vehicles.

Uber has in fact previously offered helicopter rides but never as a permanent service. In 2013, it offered helicopter rides between Manhattan and the Hamptons, and at the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, rides were also offered to the race track.

Each ride costs a minimum of a couple of hundred dollars – although the Hamptons rides were $3,000 each. And just like previous trials, the Sundance rides will also include car service rides to the helipad. A Utah company could Air Resources will operate the service.

News of the new partnership could make competitors (such as Blade) nervous – Blade is already considered the Uber for helicopters, although it remains to be seen whether such services will really take off.

SOURCE: The Verge.

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