(Yicai Global) Sept. 18 -- Leading aircraft maker Airbus plans to introduce an online helicopter ride-hailing service in China's Greater Bay Area by the start of next year.
Similar to popular car ride-hailing apps like Didi Chuxing, the Airbus platform will allow passengers to order a helicopter and pay online, the Beijing News reported today from the Aviation Expo China 2019 being held in the capital city. The booking can be made within 60 minutes of wanting to travel.
Netherlands-based Airbus already offers the same commuter service in Brazil and Mexico through its Voom subsidiary.
The southern Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, which comprises nine cities and two special administrative regions, was chosen for the service's China launch because of its high urban density and affluent consumer base, George Xu, chief executive of Airbus China, said at the conference.
Special conditions are needed to provide this kind of service, Xu said. It requires a conducive airspace environment, ground infrastructure such as landing aprons on the roofs of buildings, aircraft maintenance facilities and technical app development.
Airbus does not plan to stop at helicopters, Xu added. In the future the firm aims to introduce electric pilotless aircraft to further facilitate intercity point-to-point travel. These planes are quieter, greener and can seat more passengers.