Helicopter rideshare in downtown Chicago might begin later this year

Vertiport Chicago and Blade Urban Air Mobility are partnering to provide commuter helicopter transportation from the Loop to O’Hare Airport.

SHARE Helicopter rideshare in downtown Chicago might begin later this year
An electric vertical takeoff aircraft by Beta Technologies

Blade Urban Air Mobility plans to transition from traditional helicopters to electric aircraft by 2025.

Beta Technologies

A company wants to offer commuter helicopter service in downtown Chicago as soon as this summer.

Blade Urban Air Mobility and Vertiport Chicago are partnering on air taxi helicopters that will eventually carry travelers to places like O’Hare Airport and Lake Geneva.

Blade, a company that transports organs and transplant teams, has already set up commuter helicopter service in other major cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

Vertiport Chicago is a fixed-base operation near the Loop that allows helicopter owners and operators to access hangar space in the city. Within the next 45 days, Blade will begin construction on a branded terminal at Vertiport to help process passengers.

“Our alliance with Blade will only serve to accelerate our ability to help create the network of landing zones our city needs to be competitive in the future,” Vertiport Executive Director Daniel Mojica said in a news release.

Before Blade and Vertiport set up commuter travel, they plan on providing MediMobility services to Chicago hospitals. Melissa Tomkiel, president of Blade, said the company does not yet have formal agreements with hospitals.

Tomkiel said the company is in discussions with other communities they plan to fly to but hopes the first flights to O’Hare will begin this summer.

“We want to make sure that we introduce the service at the right time, when people are excited about it and willing and able to fly,” Tomkiel said.

Blade will start the service with two helicopters. The trip from Vertiport to O’Hare is expected to cost about $125 per seat. Passengers will be able to book flights using a smartphone application.

Tomkiel said the company is already carbon neutral but plans to work with Vertiport to transition to zero-emission electric aircraft by 2025. Electric, vertical takeoff aircraft will be quieter and could result in lower fares.

Last December, Blade announced plans to merge with Experience Investment Corp., which will make Blade the only publicly traded urban air mobility firm in the U.S.

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