What were / are the challenges you face short term / long term & domestically & internationally?
Both domestically and internationally, the main challenge is consumer acceptance. In the short-term, it is consumers accepting helicopters as a method of transportation on routes traditionally traveled by ground. In the long-term, it is consumer acceptance and trust of EVA. It has taken a few years to convince people to regularly use helicopters, and we expect that it will also take time for consumers to fully adopt EVA. However, we think one of our greatest advantages comes from offering our services to consumers now and building their trust. We have successfully grown our flier base since inception, and we believe the trust we have earned will help us continue doing the same with EVA.
How is Blade preparing for the EVAs of the future?
We are taking a number of steps to prepare for the transition to EVA.
Firstly, we are focused on continuing to grow our brand and customer base using existing rotorcraft. As part of this, we have begun expanding our short-distance routes and, on select routes, offering commuter passes, which unlock rates as low as $95 per seat. The more fliers we have today who trust our brand and product, the easier it will be to transition to EVA at scale.
In addition, we have been building our strategic passenger terminal infrastructure. Blade operates exclusive passenger terminal infrastructure in key markets, positioning us for competitive advantage in locations that are constrained by geography, or regulation, from adding new heliports.
Finally, we are continuing to grow our MediMobility business.
Blade is the largest transporter of human organs in the Northeast United States, which reduces the costs and transport time for hospitals versus legacy competitors. Given that organ movements are expected to be one of the first uses of EVA before passenger flights, we see this as a critical part of our growth strategy.
What are Blade’s objectives, and how do you achieve them?
Between today and the first passenger EVA flights, we will continue to launch new routes with the aim of saving our fliers’ time. We are constantly analyzing new markets throughout the world to understand the traffic patterns and sources of friction. Without logical routes that provide sufficient value to fliers, our flier base will not grow. We will also continue expanding our strategic passenger terminal infrastructure. Beyond providing an enjoyable and seamless pre-boarding experience, operating our own network of terminals allows us to streamline the departure and arrival process to improve the flier experience and increase our aircraft utilization rates.
Our proprietary “customer-to-cockpit” technology stack enables us to manage hundreds of fliers across numerous simultaneous flights, coordinating multiple operators flying between terminals across our route network. We believe that this technology, which provides us with enhanced logistics capabilities and information from our fliers signaling their interest in new routes, will enable us to continue to scale our business, especially with EVA.
We believe each of these are key to a successful urban air mobility service, whether utilizing EVA or traditional rotorcraft, and, together, will accelerate Blade’s transition to EVA.
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