Helicopter rideshare service Blade is expanding into Chicago, announcing today that it will base aircraft at Vertiport Chicago to provide service to destinations such as O’Hare International Airport, Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, and the tony summer vacation community of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The vertiport is located eight blocks south of the University of Illinois campus, near the downtown South Loop.
Blade will have the exclusive right to offer passenger flights sold by-the-seat at the vertiport, which will be rebranded “Vertiport Chicago Powered by Blade.” The company will also have the right to build an on-site branded passenger terminal once traffic volume necessitates.
“The build-out of infrastructure for next-generation vertical air travel in Chicago is beginning now. Our alliance with Blade will only serve to accelerate our ability to help create the network of landing zones our city needs to be competitive in the future,” said Daniel Mojica of Vertiport Chicago, referencing the anticipated future arrival of eVTOL advanced air mobility aircraft.
“Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States. It is the right time for us to establish a strategic presence in this important market,” said Blade president Melissa Tomkiel. “There are a number of passenger routes where we see real potential, and we look forward to enabling local hospitals to take advantage of Blade’s cost-effective MediMobility human organ air transport business.” The vertiport is just blocks from several of Chicago’s leading hospitals, including Rush, Stroger, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and the University of Illinois Medical Center.