Wings Magazine

News Urban Air Mobility
Blade set to lift off; urban heli taxi to go public in 2021


December 17, 2020
By The Associated Press

Topics
A Bell 407 operating in Blade’s urban air mobility network. The company’s new service extension of helicopter flights to and from JFK transforms a 90+ minute drive into a 5-minute helicopter flight, five days a week. (Photo: Blade)

NEW YORK — Urban helicopter taxi company Blade will become publicly traded after a merger with Nasdaq-listed Experience Investment Corp., the companies announced Tuesday.

The deal, expected to close in the first half of 2021, will give the company an equity value of US$825 million. Proceeds from the deal total US$400 million, which includes cash from Experience and $125 million from private investment. Other investors include entertainment moguls Barry Diller and David Geffen.

Upon closing, Experience will change its name to Blade Urban Air Mobility. Its stock trading symbol will also change from “EXPC” to “BLDE.”

New York-based Blade currently provides short-flight air service, mostly in the Northeast United States and India. It plans to use the proceeds of the deal to expand its services and transition to electric-powered vehicles. Routes between airports in the New York metropolitan area and designated Manhattan heliports start at $195 per seat, and a one-way ticket for a commuter flight between 60 and 100 miles (96.6 kilometres and 160.9 kilometres) goes for between US$595 and US$795 per seat.

Advertisement

Experience Investment is a “special purpose acquisition company,” or SPAC, and a subsidiary of private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, which specializes in raising money for high-end travel and leisure businesses.

Citing Morgan Stanley Investment Research, the companies expect urban air transportation service to be a US$125 billion market by 2025 and grow to $650 billion during the next decade.

Shares in Experience rose more than 6% in midday trading to US$10.88.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020