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Three years ago, Uber launched Uber Elevate, a flying car project offering flights which used a network of lightweight, electric aircrafts. Then, followed one-off helicopter tours of big events. And now Uber is ready to offer helicopter rides between JFK airport and Lower Manhattan to cut short commute time and allow passengers the choice of avoiding road traffic.
The process which is based on an app works like this: The app will schedule an Uber car to pick the person up at the scheduled time that allows the trip to be completed an hour before the flight. The car will drop the passenger at the heliport in Manhattan. The aircrafts used will be twin-engine turbine models operated by two pilots. After the flight, an Uber car will carry the passenger to the airline terminal. The door-to-door service is estimated to cost between $200 and $225. Riding will of course be on a sharing pattern. There’ll be space for five riders in every helicopter ride. The goal, is to complete the occupancy capacity of the helicopter and for customers to have to wait only a few minutes for a flight. Share riding is vital to the pricing and success of the venture.
Not everyone however, can order an Uber Copter. The passenger will need to be a Platinum or Diamond member of Uber Rewards, the airlines-style rewards program launched last year. Luggage restrictions will also be applicable. Passengers will be limited to carry only 2 items of luggage; a small personal bag and a carry-on bag that weighs 40 pounds. The benefits are huge. About 10,000 ground trips take place every day between Manhattan and J.F.K. The typical travel time is 50-75 minutes per trip. Uber offers only an 8-minute trip from Manhattan to the airport.
The success of this service will depend on understanding how to operate a high frequency aerial service in an urban environment.
The announced launch date is 9th July. Anticipation is at an all- time high. Now, only time will tell if Uber can pull off its goal of accessible pricing while making the service profitable.
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