Blade Air Mobility, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLDE, “Blade” or the “Company”), a technology-powered global air mobility platform, today announced that it has entered into an agreement (the “Agreement”) through its wholly owned subsidiaries Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc. and Blade Urban Air Mobility (Canada), Inc., with Helijet International, Inc. (“Helijet”), North America’s largest scheduled helicopter airline, and Pacific Heliport Services, Ltd. (“PHS”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Helijet, which operates and manages heliport infrastructure in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Blade has acquired exclusive rights to offer scheduled helicopter flights operated by Helijet and to utilize passenger terminals at heliports controlled by PHS. This acquisition is consistent with Blade’s asset-light model, where the Company organically creates, or in this case purchases, valuable routes on which by-the-seat helicopter services have a strong value proposition compared to cars and other forms of transport, and contracts with incumbent aircraft operators to fly on its behalf.
Helijet is currently operating at an annualized run-rate of about 50% of its pre-pandemic revenues of approximately US$15 million. However, traffic is recovering quickly as Canada continues its pandemic re-opening.
“The addition of Helijet’s scheduled passenger business will make Blade the largest Urban Air Mobility service in North America,” said Rob Wiesenthal, Chief Executive Officer of Blade. “Helijet, which has safely flown more than 2.5 million passengers over three decades of flying in Canada, will continue to own and operate all Blade-designated aircraft in Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.”
“Blade and Helijet are partnering to ensure our combined leadership in the early adoption of EVA on existing routes in British Columbia, as well as on the new services Blade may launch in the future,” said Danny Sitnam, President of Helijet. “EVA technologies are going to change aviation in the same way that the jet engine revolutionized air travel 60 years ago. EVA will make Urban Air Mobility more efficient, more sustainable and more affordable. In Blade, we have found a unique partner that shares our commitment to customer service and experience, safety and innovation.”
“This acquisition is a perfect fit with Blade’s mission to eliminate travel friction around the world,” added Melissa Tomkiel, President of Blade. “In 2019, over 2 million people traveled between key Helijet destinations using ground and ferry transportation, which can take more than three hours longer than Helijet flights. Our transition to lower-cost, quiet and emission-free EVA should only serve to increase the number of passengers that travel between these locations by air and the value proposition to our fliers.”
“The transaction gives Blade access to passenger terminals at conveniently located heliports in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. This infrastructure is essential to offer Urban Air Mobility solutions at scale,” noted Will Heyburn, Chief Financial Officer of Blade. “Blade intends to make investments in electric charging infrastructure at each location in order to support the future introduction of EVA, while continuing to grow our offering of affordable flights using conventional helicopters today.”
Dentons Canada LLP, led by partner Robert Quon in Vancouver, and White & Case LLP, led by partner Bill Parish in Houston, acted as legal advisors to Blade. Michael Dyment of NEXA Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based investment and strategic advisory services company with expertise in the commercial and business aviation sector, acted as strategic advisor to Helijet, and McMillan LLP, led by partner Joanna Dawson in Vancouver, acted as legal advisor to Helijet.
Blade is a technology-powered, global air mobility platform committed to reducing travel friction by providing cost-effective air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested ground routes in the U.S. and abroad. Today, the Company predominantly uses helicopters and amphibious aircraft for its passenger routes and is also one of the largest air medical transporters of human organs for transplant in the world. Its asset-light model, coupled with its exclusive passenger terminal infrastructure, is designed to facilitate a seamless transition to EVA, enabling lower cost air mobility to the public that is both quiet and emission-free.
For more information, visit ir.blade.com.
Helijet is a British Columbia-based aviation solutions company that operates North America’s largest scheduled helicopter airline, carrying well over 2.5 million passengers over the past 34 years. In addition to its scheduled helicopter services, Helijet is the major air service provider of dedicated medically equipped helicopters to British Columbia Emergency Health Services. Helijet also provides exclusive-use helicopters and business turbojet services to leisure, public service and energy companies throughout the West Coast of British Columbia and North America. For more information, visit www.helijet.com.
PHS is Canada’s largest manager and operator of public and private-use certified heliports. For more information, visit www.pacificheliportservices.com.