US brokerage and booking platform Fly Blade is working with Sikorsky subsidiary Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) to provide a new on demand urban mobility option in the New York City metro area. Through the agreement, Blade has dedicated access to an AAG operated S-76C+ helicopter, to be flown and maintained by Sikorsky pilots and maintenance technicians. Blade also will gain access to AAG's full fleet of Sikorsky helicopters, the largest in the Northeast, as required.
Additionally, the agreement establishes a working group to explore how Blade's consumer, cockpit and operator technology platform can best be leveraged by AAG.
“As a leader in vertical flight, Sikorsky is always looking to explore new market opportunities,” says vice president, commercial systems and services, Audrey Brady. “Vertical lift becomes increasingly important as cities grow, and this relationship allows us to gain critical insights to emerging needs in that space.”
“Manhattan already is the largest short-distance aviation market in the world,” adds Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal. “The influx of record new construction coupled with unprecedented ground traffic will only serve to heighten the value proposition of helicopter travel. By combining Sikorsky's decades of vertical flight expertise and AAG's thousands of flight hours with Blade's technology, dedicated lounge infrastructure and customer experience, we have created a fully integrated urban air mobility platform in the market where it is needed and valued the most.”
Blade is now utilising a Sikorsky S-76 aircraft for several northeastern routes, flying from Manhattan directly to area airports, Boston, Washington DC and other business and leisure destinations in the Northeast. Flights are available on demand through Blade's proprietary mobile app.
Sikorsky has delivered more than 875 S-76 helicopters to customers globally since 1977, contributing daily to a growing total of more than 7.25 million flight hours. The S-76 aircraft is well known for its head of state and VIP transportation work, and is the longest running VIP helicopter in the market. Today, it continues to opreate in these mission segments and others, including offshore oil, search and rescue and helicopter air ambulance transportation.