By S.L. Fuller | March 9, 2018
To book helicopter charter services through Voom — formerly an A3 project, but now a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters — customers need not be located in São Paulo, Brazil. The on-demand booking platform has launched in Mexico City.
Airbus said Friday the Mexico City location opened the day before.
“With a population of 23.9 million people and well-known traffic congestion, Mexico City was a natural choice for Voom’s second launch,” Airbus said. “Furthermore, Mexico City has substantial helicopter infrastructure already in place, with more than 200 helipads in its metro area. Mexico also has a dedicated air traffic control for helicopters, allowing for more efficient air transportation.”
Voom is available at several locations, including Montes Urales and Interlomas, as well as Mexico City International Airport and Toluca International Airport. It’s expected that the Montes Urales to Mexico City International Airport route will become one of Voom’s most popular, as Voom promises a 10-minute ride over the typical two-hour rush hour ground traffic route.
A booking platform only, Voom does not operate aircraft. Riders can book and take off in as little as 60 minutes, or plan their trip up to seven days in advance, according to the company. The service was launched in 2016 as a beta project in São Paulo.
Voom CEO Uma Subramanian said during R&WI’s Rotorcraft Business and Technology Summit in September 2017 that helicopters have been used as urban air mobility platforms for decades. At its peak in 1967, she said, New York Airways was flying 500,000 passengers a year around greater Manhattan, at the price of around $5 a journey from Manhattan to JFK International Airport. That’s about $40 in today’s prices.
“That precedent is what everybody is betting urban air mobility will be able to recapture,” Sumramanian said. “Many people in that space are pursuing new ‘eVTOL’ platforms for urban air mobility markets. Airbus is among those. Our thought at Voom, and at Airbus, is why not try to do some of this experimentally today?”