Sikorsky's subsidiary Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) and Fly Blade, Inc ("BLADE"), a digitally-powered aviation company, announced an agreement today to provide a new on-demand urban mobility option in the New York City metro area. AAG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT).
Through the agreement, AAG will provide and operate a dedicated S-76C+™ helicopter for BLADE, to be flown and maintained by Sikorsky pilots and maintenance technicians. BLADE also will gain access to AAG's full fleet of Sikorsky helicopters, the largest in the Northeast, as needed.
Additionally, the agreement establishes a working group to explore how AAG can best leverage BLADE's consumer, cockpit and operator technology platform.
"As a leader in vertical flight, Sikorsky is always looking to explore new market opportunities," said Sikorsky Vice President, Commercial Systems & Services, Audrey Brady. "Vertical lift becomes increasingly important as cities grow, and this relationship allows us to gain critical insights to emerging needs in that space."
"Manhattan already is the largest short-distance aviation market in the world. The influx of record new construction coupled with unprecedented ground traffic will only serve to heighten the value proposition of helicopter travel," said Rob Wiesenthal, BLADE's CEO. "By combining Sikorsky's decades of vertical flight expertise and AAG's thousands of flight hours with BLADE's technology, dedicated lounge infrastructure and customer experience, we have created a fully integrated urban air mobility platform in the market where it is needed and valued the most."
BLADE is now utilizing a Sikorsky S-76 aircraft for several northeastern routes, flying from Manhattan directly to area airports, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other business and leisure destinations in the Northeast. Flights are available today on-demand through BLADE's proprietary mobile app.
Sikorsky has delivered more than 875 S-76 helicopters to customers globally since 1977, contributing daily to a growing total of more than 7.25 million flight hours. The S-76 aircraft is well known for its Head of State and VIP transportation work, and is the longest running VIP helicopter in the market. Today, it continues dependable service for these mission segments and others, including offshore oil, Search and Rescue and Helicopter Air Ambulance transportation.