Blade deal forms North America’s largest UAM business
Blade Urban Air Mobility acquired scheduled helicopter operator Helijet International’s flights, making it the largest urban air mobility service in North America.
For $12m, Blade has acquired exclusive rights to offer scheduled helicopter flights operated by Helijet. It will also use passenger terminals at heliports controlled by PHS. The aircraft continue to be owned and operated by Helijet.
As North America’s largest scheduled helicopter airline, Helijet is currently making 50% of its pre-pandemic revenues, at about $15m. However, it said traffic was recovering quickly as Canada continues its pandemic re-opening.
Rob Wiesenthal, CEO, Blade, said: “Helijet, which has safely flown more than 2.5m passengers over three decades of flying in Canada, will continue to own and operate all Blade-designated aircraft in Canada and the US Pacific Northwest.”
Blade president Melissa Tomkiel added: “In 2019, over 2m people travelled between key Helijet destinations using ground and ferry transportation, which can take more than three hours longer than Helijet flights.”
Blade hopes electric vertical aircraft (EVA) will solve this problem in an environmentally and cost-friendly way.
Routes flown will be between Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, Vancouver Island where Blade will invest in Helijet’s heliport terminal infrastructure. Flights range from 20 to 40 minutes.
The acquisition is timed to coincide with Canada’s fast-growing advanced air mobility sector. Blade chief financial officer Will Heyburn said the company plans to make investments in electric charging infrastructure as well.
Danny Sitnam, president of Helijet, said: “EVA technologies are going to change aviation in the same way that the jet engine revolutionised air travel 60 years ago.”
- Blade to pay Helijet a purchase price of $12m to secure exclusive rights to Helijet’s scheduled passenger business
- It will also use heliport terminals at PHS-managed and operated heliports
- Helijet to exclusively operate Blade flights on existing and jointly developed routes in Canada and the US Pacific Northwest, including cross-border flight services
- Blade and Helijet will expand Canadian and US Pacific Northwest infrastructure appropriate for current generation rotorcraft and EVA
- The agreement has an initial term through 2026 and will be automatically renewed for successive two-year periods.