Uber ties up with Airbus for on-demand helicopter rides

uber_incUber Technologies Inc will partner with Airbus to launch a pilot project this week to provide on-demand flights with the aerospace giant's helicopters, a top Airbus executive has said.

California-based Uber has said that it will be partnering with France-based Airbus on a test programme to provide helicopter rides on demand through its application just as it currently does with car rides.

"It's a pilot project, we'll see where it goes but it's pretty exciting," Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, told The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

For Uber, helicopters could prove to be a big ticket item that expands its reach beyond taxi rides and helps justify its lofty USD 62.5 billion valuation.

Uber has also experimented with offering boats and smart routes that mimic bus lines as well as on-demand food and package deliveries, all to fuel rapid growth.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the partnership and said the trial run would take place at the Sundance Film Festival in the US state of Utah, which starts on Januaray 21.

Prices and broader rollout plans were not made public.

Uber has dabbled with helicopters in the past, offering one-off rides as promotional stunts at Cannes Film Festival, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and more.

UberCopter, or UberChopper as it is known in many markets, launched as a trial service from New York to the Hamptons in 2013.

It has since been offered on a trial basis in other cities around the world including Bangalore, Cape Town, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai.

UberChopper rides have cost as much as USD 400 per person.

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