ⓘ Blade (company)
Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc. is a virtual airline based in New York City which offers air taxi services in the New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco metropolitan areas. The airline contracts various operators to fly a number of scheduled destinations, and also runs an app which allows users to book ad-hoc and crowdsourced charter flights.
Blade launched on Memorial Day May 26 of 2014, with service between Manhattan, Southampton, East Hampton, and Montauk.
1. Core routes and lounge footprint
The company currently operates seven lounges in three states, including four in Manhattan, one in Nantucket, and a seaplane lounge in downtown Miami.
In November 2014, Blade launched Blade Bounce, an airport transfer product that enables travelers to book a six-seat helicopter for departure in as little as 20 minutes. Bounce flies between Manhattan and all surrounding metropolitan airports. The trip itself takes approximately five minutes, versus roughly an hour by car. In late 2017, Blade began to offer Blade Bounce by the seat for $295 for flights from Manhattan to JFK.
2. Jet service
In December 2015, Blade expanded its offerings and launched BLADEone, a seasonal by-the-seat jet service between Manhattan and Miami. Utilizing a Gulfstream IV jet, the inaugural flight took place on December 3 in conjunction with Art Basel. Each of the 12 individual captains seats come with their own iPad Pros, which have been preloaded with first run films. Flight attendants wore uniforms designed by Tamara Mellon and served cocktails and a meal designed by chef Todd English. On board amenity kits were designed by Jack Spade, suede slippers by Del Toro, skin care products by La Mer, toothbrush by Quip among several other amenities.
Later in the season Blade introduced the Setai One-Click Miami Weekend, a collaboration between the aviation company and the Setai Hotel. Included was a round-trip flight from Westchester County Airport to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on BLADEone and a two-night stay in a suite at the Setai, round-trip helicopter transfers to Westchester County Airport from Blades Manhattan lounge and airport transfers in a Bentley between Blade Lounge Miami and The Setai.
In November 2016, Blade announced their second season of BLADEone. Utilizing a Bombardier CRJ 200 commercial airline jet typically configured for 50 passengers, but retrofitted for 16.
BLADEone uniforms were designed by Cynthia Rowley and Sarah Jessica Parker and dubbed as the" chicest uniforms of all time".
In partnership with the Faena Hotel Blade again launched their One-Click weekend. For passengers who book two round trip flights on BLADEone a complimentary room at the Faena will be included in addition to ground transportation between the hotel and Blade Lounge Miami.
3. Charter operations
In May 2015, Blade launched their aircraft charter operations under moniker Blade Anywhere. Blade anywhere offers charter service between any domestic or international location by utilizing its accessible fleet of helicopters, seaplanes, turboprops and jets.
Over the 2014 Fourth of July weekend, Blade partnered with Uber to power UberChopper, a service that allowed Uber users to book a helicopter through their mobile application to The Hamptons.
To avoid gridlock midtown traffic during the UN General Assembly and Pope Francis’s visit to NYC in 2015, Blade offered a 6 minute cross town shuttle departing every 15 minutes.
In partnership with Velocity and Sessanta restaurant, Blade offered a Valentines Day package which included drinks at the Blade Lounge, a helicopter downtown, ground transportation and dinner.
During the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Blade provided jet service on the BLADEone jet between NYC and the festival. They created a lounge located in a residence on a private farm and offered heli transfers from Salt Lake City International Airport to the property, located minutes from downtown.
During the 2016 Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida, Blade partnered with Yachtlife to power a by-the-seat boat shuttle between South Beach and the Artist Dock at the festival. Notable passengers included The Chainsmokers, Tiesto and Deadmau5.
At the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2016, Blade partnered with Uber to offer Uberchopper powered by Blade, a helicopter service between Los Angeles and Coachella Valley at the Thermal Airport.
In partnership with Uber Boston, Blade launched Uber Air over Memorial Day 2016 with scheduled flights between Boston and the Blade Lounge in Nantucket. Utilizing a nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan turboprop plane from Boston to the island, Blade was able to cover the 90-mile distance in 40 minutes.
In an effort to capture numerous Tri-State area parents who typically drive between 5 and 8 hours to visit their children on camp visiting day Blade offered crowdsourced flights between Manhattan or The Hamptons and more than 20 camps in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York.
In August 2016, Blade partnered with T-Mobile to create a same-day Hamptons beach experience. Flights departed Sunday mornings to East Hampton Airport where ground transportation brought passengers to the T-Mobile beach lounge where drinks and lunch were included and a flight home the same afternoon. Alleviating the need for expensive overnight stays.
In conjunction with the launch of Net-A-Porter same-day delivery to The Hamptons, Blade offered an exclusive Hamptons Getaway Kit for purchase on the luxury e-tailers site, the kit includes two one-way Blade tickets to The Hamptons along with a specially selected kit of summer travel essentials featuring brands like Smythson and Friends.
Blade is the first helicopter company to offer service to Woodbury Commons premium outlet mall. Launching over Black Friday Blade offered flights to and from the Simon-owned property between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Blade partnered with NYU Langone Medical Center to offer life saving organ transplant flights in August 2019. The program is currently run by Nate Alexander, Max Schrage and Hunter Senning and operates under the moniker BLADE MediMobility. The program has successfully transported over 50 organs since its summer launch.
5. Blade India
In December 2018, Blade announced their intentions to launch an Urban Air Mobility Pilot Program in India. Blade is operating the service in partnership with equity investment firm Hunch Ventures. Blade India, launching Fall 2019, will enable fliers to helicopter between Blade Lounges being constructed at convenient urban heliports, avoiding large commercial airports entirely as they transform unpredictable four to eight hours drives into short 35-minute flights. Initial routes will connect the cities of Juhu and Mahalaxmi with heliports in Pune and Shirdi.
There has been pushback within The Hamptons community against increased air traffic at the local East Hampton Airport. Opponents claim that noise levels have increased as a direct result of increased air traffic.
East Hampton Airport has long been owned and operated by the local municipality. This detail has caused a significant rift in the community, as politicians and residents fight over whether to accept Federal Aviation Administration funds or not. Recently, the Town of East Hampton reached an agreement with the FAA to self-fund the airport, allowing them to impose stricter rules on air traffic.
On April 16, 2015, The Town of East Hampton voted to adopt strict laws limiting air traffic in and out of the East Hampton Airport. Beginning summer of 2015, there was a ban on all flights from 11:00PM to 7:00AM. Any aircraft that fell under the Towns classification of" noisy” aircraft with an Effective Perceived Noise in Decibels EPNdB approach level of 91.0 or greater was forbidden from taking off or landing from 8:00PM to 9:00AM all year and was limited to one landing and one takeoff per week. There is currently a lawsuit against the FAA for its part in waiving grant assurances that allowed the Town to enact these rules.
In November 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the three ordinances that the town put into place a year ago in order to rein in noise and activity at the airport illegal. The ordinance that included a curfew on all noisy high-decibel aircraft between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. is no more. The ordinance that restricted noisy aircraft to just one trip a week is no more. The ordinance that required a curfew on all aircraft traffic between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. is no more.
7. Accidents and incidents
On May 15, 2019, a Bell 206 helicopter operated by Zip Aviation, made an emergency landing on floats on the water near the W. 30th Street Heliport in NYC, USA. There were no passengers on board. The pilot was uninjured and immediately exited the aircraft after landing. At the time of the incident, the helicopter was being repositioned for fueling by the operator and was not flying for Blade despite being painted in Blade colours.
Passengers must download the Blade app to their iOS or Android device, sign up for an account, and enter additional information such as a valid phone number and credit card details. When a passenger wants to fly, they open the app and select an existing flight to join at a time that works for them. If no times work for the passenger, they can crowdsource their own flight at a more convenient time; any remaining seats on a crowdsourced flight may then go on to be sold to other flyers through the digital community Blade provides in-app.
no need to download or install
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