Helicopter ride-sharing service seeks to beat gridlock in Manila

Bloomberg/Chris Ratcliffe

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Ascent Flights Global is starting the service in the Philippines next week and plans to expand to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia by next year.

Thursday 04, April 2019

(Bloomberg) --A new start-up may have the answer for cashed-up travellers desperate to beat the gridlock in the mega cities of Southeast Asia, helicopter ride-sharing.

The Singapore-based company lets customers book a seat on a helicopter online for flights during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Targeting executives and luxury travellers, the choppers fly to the Makati and Taguig City central business districts, as well as airports in Manila and Clark north of the capital.

The shortest flight between the two business districts cuts travel time from half an hour to three minutes, with seats going for PHP 6,900 ($133) each. The longest flight between the two airports will cost PHP 25,900 for a 30-minute trip that would usually take three hours. Local charter business INAEC Aviation Corporation is proving the helicopters and pilots.

Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff, Ascent founder and former Airbus Helicopters Executive, said, “We believe the cost of time is different for those who are time-sensitive.”

If its Philippine venture succeeds, Ascent wants to start services in Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur in 2020, and then cities in China and Japan. The start-up, backed by venture capital company REAPRA, is looking to raise another $3 million to $5 million over the next two years to fund regional expansion.


TAGS : helicopter ride-sharing, INAEC Aviation Corporation, Ascent Flights Global, REAPRA

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