A Chinese operator plans to start helicopter commuter service Thursday for the Pearl River Delta cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, according to news outlet China Daily.
The privately owned, Shenzhen-based Astro Air said the service will be the first of its kind on the Chinese mainland, according to the new report.
The company has been working on the service launch for several years. In 2012, it ordered two Bell Helicopter 429s and a 407GX, which it said would support a business shuttle service in the area north and west of Hong Kong. (Astro Air also operates Sikorsky Aircraft S-76 and S-92.) In April, the company said it was cooperating with the Zhuhai helicopter unit of China Southern Airlines on developing the Pearl River Delta service, and in June Astro Air received Part 135 transport operator certification under China Civil Aviation Regulations.
China Daily said the service will operate from the central business districts of Guangzhou and Shenzhen and from Zhuhai’s Hengqin New Area, and will cut the intra-city travel times by about 60% compared to other transportation modes. A single trip ticket is priced at $770 (4,999 yuan), the report said.