UberCopter is a new service that the ridesharing giant will offer as early as July through a new partnership with Part 135 operator HeliFlite as the company marches toward an urban air mobility network, Uber executives announced this morning at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C. Existing heliports, established VFR routes and the existing Uber network make this first step possible, Uber Elevate director of operations Stan Swaintek said.
“This is something we can start building today,” he explained. “The aircraft infrastructure is already there.”
The service will initially be concentrated on flights between Manhattan and JFK airport in New York City, and will include Uber’s ground ridesharing service. Users can use their Uber app to arrange transportation from their location in Manhattan to the heliport and on to JFK.
To be cost-effective, helicopter flights will include four to five passengers at a time. “It’s imperative the flight is shared so in turn we can make the flight affordable,” Uber Elevate head of product Nikhil Goel said. He estimates that just the helicopter flight will average between $200 and $225 for users. The launch of the service also will help Uber “learn how to build a truly customer-obsessed Uber air product,” Goel added.