Friday, April 12, 2024

Airbus to Supply Helicopters to Uber – Nasdaq


MUNICH—Airbus Group SE will provide helicopters to Uber Technologies Inc. for its on-demand services, the European plane maker's chief executive said Sunday.

"Its a pilot project, we'll see where it goes—but it's pretty exciting," Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal at the Digital Life Design conference here.

The project will launch at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this week, he said. Airbus didn't provide financial details of the agreement.

The U.S. tech firm first tested its UberChopper service between Manhattan and the Hamptons in 2013. The company also has experimented with the helicopter rides for special events, such as at the Cannes Film Festival in May or the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June.

Uber has charged between several hundred and several thousands of dollars for those rides.

The company will offer Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters for the Sundance project and has partnered with Air Resources, a Utah-based operator of H125 helicopters, an Airbus spokesman said.

Uber will dispatch a car to pick up clients for the chopper rides, the Airbus spokesman said. Uber couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The move signals Airbus is expanding its search for helicopter customers as demand from some of its traditional clients has been hurt by low oil prices.

Oil and gas companies traditionally have been a key market for Airbus's most expensive commercial helicopters, but low commodity prices has caused them to cut back on the purchase and use of choppers.

The helicopter-sales business struggled in 2014 and slumped further last year, Mr. Enders said in December.

Airbus's relationship with Uber comes as Europe's largest aerospace company is trying to expand its ties to Silicon Valley in California.

Mr. Enders has moved in that direction to ensure that Airbus remains innovative at a time when technology giants such as entrepreneur Elon Musk, Google-parent Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. embark on aerospace projects ranging from building rockets to beaming Internet from high-altitude aircraft.

Airbus last year established a $150 million fund in Silicon Valley to make technology investments. The unit, Airbus Group Ventures, last week announced its first investment, putting money into collaborative engineering company Local Motors.

In discussing the situation in Iran, Mr. Enders said the country presented a "tremendous opportunity" for many industries. His comments came a day after Iran's transport minister signaled the country would buy 114 Airbus airliners after sanctions that prohibited such deals were removed.

The European Union and Iran said Saturday many of sanctions imposed by the U.S., the EU and the United Nations would be lifted immediately after Iran completed the steps needed to implement July's nuclear deal.

"It's a huge market and I really hope that those who are party to this agreement really don't screw it up," Mr. Enders cautioned.

He said the Iranians are flying "very old aircraft" and current assessments shows the country will need between 400 and 500 aircraft in the coming years. Iran also generates a lot of engineering talent, he noted.

"We are studying our way forward in view of this new environment in full compliance with all international laws," an Airbus spokesman said Sunday.

Mr. Enders also expressed optimism about the future of China's economy, despite recent turbulence with the country's stock market. The aerospace industry, he said, faces high entry barriers due to technology and enormous development costs. "But if you want to bet on somebody—bet on the Chinese," he added.

Robert Wall in London contributed to this article.

Write to Rebecca Blumenstein at and Natalia Drozdiak at


Source link

Author: Red

Related Articles


Latest Articles