Voom, the Airbus-backed helicopter seat-booking service, has officially launched in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The company inadvertently revealed its intentions in June, when San Francisco flights briefly appeared on its website. A company spokesperson told eVTOL.com at the time that those offerings were “for friends and family” and that Voom would formally launch in the U.S. in fall 2019.
Now, as of Sept. 26, the company is offering its helicopter ridesharing service between five Bay Area airports: Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and San Jose. Voom can also link passengers to full-aircraft charters to additional regional airports, such as Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Livermore, and Sacramento.
Voom is advertising 20-minute journeys between San Francisco and San Jose international airports from $285. Service from San Francisco to Napa is more expensive at about $425 per seat. The company does not operate the flights, instead partnering with the certificated air carriers Air Resources Helicopters and Coastal Helicopters, according to its website.
“There is a population in the area which is willing to pay a premium to actually fly over traffic and get to their destination in 15 minutes versus two hours,” Voom CEO Clément Monnet told eVTOL.com sister publication Vertical. “Our service will make it easy and affordable for business travelers to travel quickly from locations such as the San Francisco airport to San Jose in only 20 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic for hours trying to get to a meeting.”
Voom, which launched in 2017, has already served tens of thousands of passengers in Mexico City, Mexico, and São Paulo, Brazil. With its entry into the U.S. market, it joins competitors Blade and Uber Copter in their efforts to prove out urban air mobility concepts using helicopters, with an eye toward eVTOL operations in the future.
“The goal is for us to move people from A to B in a convenient way through the air,” said Monnet. “It happens to be helicopters today, but we definitely want to do it with eVTOLs tomorrow, working closely with Airbus on how to make that happen so we are safe, green, quiet, and efficient.”
Voom is also launching its Voom for Business solution that makes it easy and efficient for companies to manage their employees’ travel with Voom. With a specialized dashboard, Voom for Business is designed to simplify billing under one account and to enable the easy booking of flights for employees by other team members, the company said.
Dan Parsons contributed reporting to this article.