Urban air mobility platform Blade has announced plans to begin helicopter rideshare service between the Westchester/Connecticut corridor and New York City in a strategic alliance with Ross Aviation. Denver-based Ross currently operates 17 FBOs under the Ross Aviation, Rectrix Aviation, Alaska Aerofuel, Island Air, and Great Circle Aviation Services banners.
Under the deal, Ross will work with Blade to build a vertiport at Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, New York. The new vertiport will include all the necessary infrastructure to support future eVTOL aircraft. Blade expects the new five-day-per-week Westchester service to begin as early as March, transforming a typically one- to two-hour hour drive to/from New York City into a 10- to 15-minute flight. One-way flights are expected to be approximately $175 per person, though Blade plans to offer commuter passes that would reduce the per-seat cost to $95.
Meanwhile, investors will soon be able to buy publicly-traded stock in Blade. Last month, Blade agreed to merge with publicly-listed Experience Investment Corp. (EIC). “When our sponsor KSL Capital Partners and I launched EIC, our goal was to leverage longstanding relationships, our network of industry connections, and other KSL assets to help uncover attractive opportunities and expedite the growth plan for our merger partner, Blade,” said EIC CEO Eric Affeldt. KSL Capital Partners is a private-equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises.