Voom brings its helicopter ride-hailing service to San Francisco
Following Uber’s entry into the helicopter air taxi market with its launch of Uber Air this month, Airbus is doubling down on its own helicopter urban-transport efforts by launching its Voom air taxi service to the US – specifically in San Francisco
Users can now book helicopter flights across the greater San Francisco Bay Area through the Voom app. The cost of the flights – operated by Coastal Helicopters LLC – range from $147 for a flight into the city from SFO airport to $294 for an on-demand flight across the Peninsula.
Coastal Helicopters operates a mixed fleet of three Bell five-to-eight-seater Bell variants, two AS350s and a Sikorsky S-76. It will fly for Voom between Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.
The service will operate from five helipads in the area: Hayward Airport (HWD), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Palo Alto Airport (PAO), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Jose International Airport (SJC).
Voom was rumoured to be launching in the US a few days prior to launching in San Francisco after Fast Company reported that Voom confirmed it was planning to bring its service to the US.
When Helicopter Investor sought comment from the company prior to the San Francisco launch, a Voom spokesperson replied: “We are refining our offering by testing it with friends and family. No confirmation; that’s the only thing we can share at the moment.” As most journalists know, any “no comment” generally means that the questioner has hit the nail on the head.
Voom is currently active in Mexico City and São Paulo – two cities that boast of having the largest number of helicopter flights per day. Both cities also suffer from severe road-traffic congestion problems.
Both cities feature many helipads. São Paulo has 215 and Mexico City 200. However, cities such as San Francisco are fast becoming hotspots in the US for app-based flight-hailing services.
This is not Airbus’s first foray into the US helicopter ride-hailing market. It already owns the biggest player in the New York helicopter ride hailing market – Blade Helicopters.