Helijet International, North America's largest scheduled helicopter operator, has entered into an agreement with Blade Urban Air Mobility, a technology-powered global air mobility platform, for the sale of exclusive rights for the booking of flights on Helijet's scheduled service routes, which will continue to be operated by Helijet. The exclusive rights sale is part of a new operating partnership aimed at introducing additional routes and delivering the first commercially available and sustainable electric vertical aircraft (EVA) to the British Columbia market.
Helijet and Blade are combining their expertise and investment efforts to accelerate the introduction and commercialisation of newer, more sustainable and cost-effective EVA into communities served by Blade and Helijet, as well as potential new route networks in BC and the Pacific Northwest.
“Helijet and Blade are partnering to ensure our combined leadership in the early adoption of EVA on existing routes in British Columbia, as well as the new services Blade may launch in the future,” explains Danny Sitnam, president of Helijet. “EVA technologies are going to change aviation in the same way that the jet engine revolutionised air travel 60 years ago. EVA will make urban air mobility more efficient, more sustainable and more affordable. In Blade, we have found a unique partner that shares our commitment to customer service and experience, safety and innovation. Together, we are looking forward to a future that is literally just around the corner.”
While Blade is not acquiring any shares or ownership in Helijet, it will have the right to acquire up to 49 per cent of Helijet's wholly-owned subsidiary, Pacific Heliport Services (PHS), which manages and operates heliport waterfront terminals in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. Blade's investment in existing and future vertiport infrastructure provides Blade access to heliport passenger terminals controlled by PHS to ensure sustainable, state-of-the-art facility infrastructure is put in place for future route expansion.
“This partnership is a perfect fit with Blade's mission to eliminate travel friction around the world,” states Melissa Tomkiel, president of Blade. “Like Danny and the team at Helijet, we recognise EVA's incredible potential. Together we are committed to making aviation more accessible, and our transition to lower-cost, quiet and emission-free EVA should only serve to increase the number of passengers that travel by air between Helijet and Blade locations and the value proposition to our fliers.”
Helijet will continue to operate its current routes as usual, with Blade integrating its booking and sales technologies to achieve greater reach into Helijet's existing and future route network. Together, Helijet and Blade are currently reviewing new routes to serve Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and other locations along the Pacific Northwest's Cascadia corridor. At the same time, aircraft fleet, booking and sales systems, and flier experience upgrades are already on the drawing board.
“For our customers, Helijet's integration with Blade's platform will be seamless over the coming months and will provide new booking technology features as part of Blade's dynamic offerings,” noted Sitnam.
Blade's investment will strengthen Helijet's integration of sustainable aviation technologies and development of vertiport infrastructure.
NEXA Capital Partners, a Washington DC based investment and strategic advisory services company, with expertise in the commercial and business aviation sector, has been advising and supporting Helijet on this agreement with Blade.