The helicopter seat-booking company Blade Urban Air Mobility has expanded its service to the Los Angeles area, leveraging a new rooftop heliport lounge in downtown L.A. for both daily service and flights for special events.
New helicopter routes will connect the lounge near the Staples Center and other key destinations, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the L.A. Westside, Orange County, and Burbank. Additional flights to downtown L.A. will be conveniently scheduled for hockey and basketball games, as well as marquee concerts and events at the Staples Center. Flights start at $195 per seat, with flight times as short as five minutes.
“Since expanding our continuous flight service in Manhattan and San Francisco, we are seeing faster-than-expected adoption by people choosing to fly rather than drive,” stated Blade West Coast general manager Shivani Parikh in a press release. Parikh said that Blade’s service will complement L.A.’s existing transportation options, offering “the ability to fly short distances, bypassing ground traffic on the way to work, home, the airport, or to key leisure destinations.”
Blade’s L.A. operations will use Airbus H130 helicopters, which have a lower noise profile than many helicopters due to their Fenestron shrouded tail rotors. Manufacturer Airbus Helicopters is an investor and partner of Blade and is “very happy to be partnering on Blade’s expansion with our customers in Los Angeles,” said Airbus Helicopters, Inc. president Romain Trapp.
The expansion comes shortly after Blade announced a new partnership with Sheltair Aviation to expand air mobility options in the New York City metro area. However, it also comes in the midst of efforts to ban helicopters over New York City, driven by noise and safety concerns associated with increased helicopter traffic.
Blade said that one of its long-term goals is to make short-distance aviation more accessible through the adoption of cleaner, quieter eVTOL aircraft. In the meantime, the company said, it has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, achieving carbon neutrality for its operations this past summer.