- Voom, an on-demand helicopter company owned by Airbus, plans to expand its service in the U.S. this fall, the company confirmed in an exclusive Fast Company report.
- Voom currently operates in Sao Paulo and Mexico City, with plans to expand to 25 undisclosed cities around the world by 2025.
- "We have been operating in Brazil for 2 years and in Mexico for one year, and have been learning a lot about consumer preferences and operations," a Voom spokesperson told Smart Cities Dive.
This Fast Company report comes on the heels of an announcement that Uber will launch "Uber Copter" service in New York next month, promising eight-minute rides from Lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) for $200 per person.
It is possible that Voom's expansion will make it a direct competitor of Uber Copter. Other well-established on-demand helicopter companies like Blade — which operates in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Nantucket, MA and the Hamptons in New York — are also carving out a customer base for the luxury transportation service.
The success of these on-demand air travel companies remains to be seen, however, as concerns have mounted around urban air travel. Earlier this month, New York was shook by a helicopter crash in Midtown that killed a pilot and left organizations such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) searching for answers. The investigation into that crash could take as long as two years to complete, which could potentially delay the launch of more helicopter services in New York and other cities.
Concerns around on-demand helicopter travel haven't stopped Airbus from developing new vehicles and services. Last week, the company announced a research project aimed at "demonstrating the use of a hybrid propulsion system on board a single-engine helicopter testbed."
These types of research projects are becoming more popular as companies look to quieter, cleaner air travel options. While vehicles used by services such as Voom, Blade and Uber Copter are gas-powered, Airbus and Uber are also working on electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concepts that aim to revolutionize urban air travel over the next decade.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story said Voom is currently operating in San Francisco. Information about that market has since been removed from Voom's website. A Voom spokesperson confirmed Voom is not yet operating in the U.S.