Cape Times



UBER Technologi­es is testing a helicopter service in New York City, according to documents outlining the programme. Passengers will be able to use the Uber app to book a flight through the service, called Uber Copter. Tests flights took off from a Manhattan heliport near Wall Street to John F Kennedy Internatio­nal Airport. After asking Uber for comment on Wednesday, the New York Times published a story about the programme. It says customers will be able to book flights starting on July 9 in New York City and that the average ride will cost $200 (R2 950) to $225 a person. Eric Allison, the head of Uber’s flight business, told the Times that the company plans to eventually offer helicopter rides in other cities. A spokespers­on for Uber declined to comment. Helicopter­s have been whisking travellers from Manhattan to nearby airports for decades. Now, a start-up called Blade Urban Air Mobility even lets customers book using an app. It currently offers regular flights from Manhattan to three airports six days a week for as little as $195. “There may be no greater validation of Blade’s strategy than Uber entering the urban air mobility market in New York City,” said Blade chief executive Rob Wiesenthal. As Uber geared up last month for America’s largest initial public offering since 2014, the company emphasised its investment in various modes of transporta­tion. In addition to the world’s largest ride-hailing service for cars, it operates self-driving vehicles, electric bicycles, scooter rentals and now helicopter­s. | Bloomberg

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