Rideshare Provider Sees eVTOLs as Air Charter's Future

 - February 25, 2020, 6:35 AM
Philippines-based INAEC Aviation is one of the operators providing flights booked through Ascent's rideshare booking app. [Photo: Ascent]

Helicopter charter booking service Ascent is in talks with multiple eVTOL aircraft developers about possible partnerships to support their use for urban air mobility air taxi services. The Singapore-based company, which views electric aircraft as a key step in making the air charter sector more environmentally sustainable, also announced this week that it has committed to the United Nations Carbon Neutral Now pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of that effort, Ascent will support carbon offsetting programs to compensate for emissions from rideshare flights booked.

Founder and CEO Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff told AIN that Ascent is in discussions with eVTOL developers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Based on these discussions, it believes commercial eVTOL operations could be ready to start in Asia during 2025. “We look forward to welcoming the interest of entities to join our ecosystem and partner with us to contribute to the entry of low-emission eVTOLs and will work with them at a pace aligned to their expected timelines and goals,” Sinai-Sinelnikoff commented.

Ascent's app allows travelers to book individual seats on chartered helicopters operated by approved operators across Southeast Asia, for which the company acts as general sales agent. It recently added Philippines-based INAEC Aviation to its network and this company recently ordered a new eight-seat SH09 single from Swiss manufacturer Kopter.

The company measures the carbon footprint of each flight it books using the International Civil Aviation Organization methodology to calculate carbon emissions per aircraft and per passenger, including ground transportation associated with these trips. It then compensates for these emissions through payments to Clean Development Mechanism projects certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that reduce, avoid or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Many of these projects are in developing countries, where Ascent believes the impact will be bigger on local communities.

“Ascent is built to democratize urban air mobility by selling flights on a ride-sharing basis with smart aircraft allocation and optimized routes,” said Sinai-Sinelnikoff. “This means that for each flight, users are pooled and fly on specific aircraft and routes that meet the operational requirements while taking other factors like flight time, cost and carbon footprint into account.”

This story comes from FutureFlight.aero resource developed by AIN to provide objective, independent coverage of new aviation technology, including electric aircraft developments.