LABACE Convention News

Voom, Parapublic Market Driving Airbus Helicopter Sales In Brazil

 - August 7, 2019, 1:00 PM
The success of the Voom helitaxi service is just part of Airbus’s continued efforts to develop helicopter infrastructure in Brazil.

Airbus-incubated helitaxi service Voom has made solid gains since launching commercial operations in São Paulo in 2017. Voom’s mission is to expand urban mobility by making helicopter flights accessible and affordable for urban commuters. The service links them with trusted helicopter operators. Flights can be booked online with as little as an hour’s notice.

To date, more than 100,000 users have registered in the Voom database. Between April 2017 and April 2018, registrations grew by 220 percent and flights increased by 200 percent. Between April 2018 and April 2019, trips increased by 62 percent, and 60 percent of those passengers were flying with the service for the first time. Air-tour flights booked through the service also increased, by 20 percent per month, from December 2017 to December 2018, with those flights scheduled anywhere from one hour to 90 days in advance. The Voom app was downloaded more than 4,500 times in its first month. Voom also recently launched the “Voom for Business” platform and it has more than 20 major corporate clients. 

Airbus Helicopters reported a positive first quarter this year and increased market interest. Over the last year, there has been growth in the sale and deliveries of light and medium twins with three H135 light twins delivered to the Brazilian Navy and one ACH145 twin delivered to a private customer. A company spokesman said that the newly announced enhanced version of H145, the five-blade, FADEC-equipped H145 D3, should do particularly well in the Latin American market. The new version features an extra 150 kg payload and new levels of comfort. It significantly increases the overall performance of the aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 3,800 kg and a payload now equivalent to the aircraft's empty weight.

Helibras and Airbus are continuing to invest in upgraded customer service throughout the region via the HCare customer service program and the menu of options contained therein. “HCare Easy” offers Easy Parts and Easy Exchange options on a per-use basis while HCare Smart charges an hourly flight fee that covers standard maintenance, repair, or replacement of third-level components, taking the uncertainty out of maintenance costs. Airbus Corporate Helicopter (ACH) customers can enroll in HCare First, which includes a five-year, 1,000-hour maintenance package. 

Helibras sees the potential to expand parapublic sales for both EMS and police operators, noting that Brazil currently operates only one EMS helicopter per every 14 million inhabitants, significantly below the world average for industrialized countries. For example, Germany has one aeromedical helicopter for every one million residents. “We know that Brazil's potential is huge,” said an Airbus Helicopters spokesman.