MANILA, Philippines – If you're tired of the endless traffic in the metro and willing to shell out thousands of pesos, then a new helicopter ride-sharing service may be for you.
On Wednesday, April 3, tech startup Ascent launched a service that offers ride-sharing in choppers, similar to carpooling. It will be run by pioneer operator INAEC Aviation Corporation.
Currently, Ascent offers bookings to and from the following areas:
- Metro Manila
- Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) INAEC Manila Hangar, Pasay City
- St Luke's Medical Center, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City
- V&A Law Center, BGC, Taguig City
- SM City North EDSA, Quezon City
- The Peninsula Manila, Makati City
- City Track Oval, Tagaytay City
- INAEC Clark Hangar, Clark City
The service, however, is not for the ordinary Filipino commuter.
A ride from Makati City to BGC, which takes only roughly 3 minutes via air, costs P6,900.
NAIA to Tagaytay costs P21,900 for a 20-minute flight or so, while NAIA to Clark is P25,900 for a 30-minute ride.
Passengers have to log on to Ascent's website. They may opt to book at their own time, or choose a set schedule by the firm.
Ascent founder and chief executive officer Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff said the firm aims to provide another solution to the metro's worsening traffic situation.
"Despite being one of the fastest growing business hubs in Southeast Asia, Manila's traffic situation is also one of the most challenging in the region. We hope to provide a solution that is highly relevant to the current times' economic productivity pitfalls," said Sinai-Sinelnikoff.
Ascent uses 7-seater Bell 429 and 5-seater Airbus H125 aircraft to carry commuters.
Passengers may opt for more services such as add-on luggage, on-ground guest assistance, airport transfers via helicopter, shuttle services to dedicated heliports, and corporate packages.
Ascent was founded last year by Sinai-Sinelnikoff and chief commercial officer Darren Tng. It plans to expand routes to the Visayas and Mindanao later this year, and eventually around Southeast Asia.
In 2015, ride-hailing giants Uber and Grab Philippines launched their respective chopper services, UberChopper and GrabHeli. Uber has since sold its entire Southeast Asia business to Grab, while the GrabHeli option is no longer available in the Philippines. – Rappler.com