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Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc. (stylized "BLADE") is a company based in New York City. which allows users to create their own crowdsourced flights or purchase seats on pre-existing flights between locations in and around New York City and  as of April 2019, Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Blade is not an airline, and its flights are operated by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified and Department of Transportation (DOT) licensed air carriers.
|Industry||Technology, Transportation, Aviation|
|Founder||Rob Wiesenthal, Steve Martocci|
|Services||Mobile application, Helicopter transfer, Helicopter charter, Scheduled air service, SaaS aviation technologies|
Number of employees
Blade launched on Memorial Day (May 26) of 2014, Blade began arranging flights to the Hamptons. Originally offering three routes, with service between Manhattan, Southampton, East Hampton, and Montauk.
As of November 2016, Blade utilized 11 operators in 22 destinations.
Core routes and lounge footprintEdit
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 (JFK, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Teterboro, and Westchester). 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.
Flight duration for key routesEdit
|Manhattan – Southampton||35 minutes|
|Manhattan – East Hampton||45 minutes|
|Manhattan – Montauk||55 minutes|
|Manhattan – Nantucket||90 minutes|
|Manhattan – Teterboro Airport||5 minutes|
|Manhattan – Westchester Airport||12 minutes|
|Manhattan – John F. Kennedy Airport||5 minutes|
|Manhattan – Newark International Airport||6 minutes|
|Manhattan – Laguardia Airport||4 minutes|
|Manhattan – Atlantic City||40 minutes|
|Manhattan – Monmouth||15 minutes|
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 captain's 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 Blade's Manhattan lounge and airport transfers in a Bentley between Blade Lounge Miami and The Setai.
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.
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.
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.
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 Town's 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.
Accidents and incidentsEdit
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, he or she opens the app and selects an existing flight to join at a time that works for them. If no times work for the passenger, he or she 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.
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