Helijet strikes deal with U.S. partner, aims to expand into electric aircraft, U.S. destinations
British Columbia-based helicopter operator Helijet International has struck a deal with a U.S. firm as part of a plan to expand operations to include electric aircraft and potential new destinations in Seattle and Portland.
The agreement gives New York-based Blade Urban Air Mobility exclusive rights to passenger bookings on Helijet's regular routes between Victoria, Vancouver and Nanaimo, B.C.
The sale of the booking rights is part of Helijet's goal to introduce new routes and deliver the first commercially available electric vertical aircraft (EVA) to the B.C. market, the company said in a statement Thursday.
"EVA technologies are going to change aviation in the same way that the jet engine revolutionized air travel 60 years ago," said Helijet president Danny Sitnam. "EVA will make urban air mobility more efficient, more sustainable, and more affordable."
Under the new agreement, Helijet will continue to operate its current routes as usual, while Blade integrates its booking and sales technologies into the company's customer experience.
"Together, Helijet and Blade are currently reviewing new routes to serve Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and other locations along the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia corridor," Helijet said in the statement. "At the same time, aircraft fleet, booking and sales systems, and flier experience upgrades are already on the drawing board."
The deal will give Blade the right to acquire up to 49 per cent of Helijet subsidiary Pacific Heliport Services, which manages Helijet's terminals in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.
"Helijet’s integration with Blade’s platform will be seamless over the coming months and will provide new booking technology features as part of Blade’s dynamic offerings," the Helijet president added.
Helijet launched in 1986 as Canada's first scheduled helicopter service. The company also operates air ambulances for British Columbia Emergency Health Services.