Skip to main content

Uber’s deal with Airbus indicates it’s serious about hailing helicopters

uber partners with airbus for on demand helicopter rides
Mezzotint123RF
Uber has done a deal with Airbus that could eventually see the company launch a more permanent on-demand helicopter service in major cities across the U.S.

The ride-hailing outfit, better known for ferrying passengers around in cars than flying machines, already has experience of operating a helicopter service, though on a very limited scale. The new partnership therefore appears to signal a more serious shift by Uber to expand its current business with the launch of an air-based service.

Airbus’s apparently quick-witted chief executive Tom Enders described the deal to supply Uber with helicopters as “a pilot project,” adding, “We’ll see where it goes – but it’s pretty exciting.”

h125 helictoper interior
Interior of an Airbus H125 helicopter. Airbus

The service, first reported on Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, will kick off at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Thursday, with Uber cars taking passengers to and from the helipad.

San Francisco-based Uber will use Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters for the Sundance service and has done a deal with Utah-based Air Resources for the use of more helicopters and pilots, a spokesperson for the European plane maker told the Journal.

It’s not the first time for Uber to dabble in copter rides, though this looks to be its most serious effort yet. In the summer of 2013, for example, the company tested flights for well-heeled passengers between New York City and the Hamptons, while more recently it offered services at the Cannes Film Festival in France and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee. Such rides can cost up to $3,000 a time.

If Uber really is looking into launching a more expansive helicopter service, it’s likely to raise concern among other firms with similar offerings, among them New York-based Gotham, and Blade, which counts Eric Schmidt – executive chairman of Google’s parent company –  among its backers.

Besides cars and the occasional helicopter ride, Uber also offers an intercontinental speedboat service across the Bosphorus in Turkey, and also offers rickshaw rides in some cities in India.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Get this Samsung tablet for under $100 for Memorial Day
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite in the hands.

While some of the best tablets can compete with budget laptops in terms of what they can do, that performance comes at a cost that some folks might not need. If you just want something simple for streaming or reading, you don't need to grab the best of the best, and something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is perfect for that. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also has a great early Memorial Day deal on it from Walmart that brings the price down even further. While it usually goes for $159, Walmart is discounting it down to just $99, saving you a whopping $60 in the process.

Why you should buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
While the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite may not be the best of devices, there's a lot to love about it, such as the fact that you get a pretty solid 8.7-inch for less than $100. It does run a lower 1340 x 800 resolution, but that's not too bad on a smaller screen where you likely won't notice it; plus, it does mean you use less bandwidth to stream content. Interestingly, it also has a fingerprint reader, which is pretty rare on more budget-friendly devices but makes opening and closing the tablet pretty easy.

Read more
If you like Samsung phones, you need to be ready for July 10
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 resting on a table.

Although Samsung hasn't officially announced the date, we've gotten more indications about when the next Samsung Unpacked Event will be held.

According to The Chosun Daily, it's going to be Wednesday, July 10, in Paris. The date has long been rumored, so this latest news is unsurprising. Still, it's good to get confirmation from another source on the same date. At this point, it's all but set in stone that July 10 is the day to look forward to.

Read more
The best iPad Pro cases in 2024
rear shell of M4 iPad Pro.

When it comes to tablets, the market is pretty much dominated by Apple’s iPad lineup. And one of the absolute best ones you can get is the iPad Pro, which is the top-of-the-line iPad that boasts plenty of power and performance for your most complex tasks.

The latest iPad Pro (2024) packs in the powerful new M4 chip, a gorgeous OLED display with the option of an anti-reflective coating on certain models, and support for new accessories like the Apple Pencil Pro. It’s also one of Apple’s thinnest products ever, so you’ll definitely want to protect it.

Read more