Business & Industry

Jeff Reinke Jun 07, 2019

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San Francisco-based BlackBird Air is trying to become the Uber of on-demand aviation services. The company's app allows users to connect with private planes that operate similar to automotive ridesharing services.

A user plugs in where they are and where they want to go, and the app provides a possible connection. The company currently operates in and around Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, with early inroads being made on the East Coast between Boston and New York.

In some instances, Blackbird is actually able to offer prices that are competitive with their wheeled counterparts. Such is the case if looking to skip some of the highway time I encountered on a recent trip to California. According to their site, the 23-minute flight to Oxnard from LAX would have cost $36 per seat, as opposed to the projected $38 in gas for a drive that, with traffic, took over two hours.

In their efforts to continue pushing this approach to travel forward, BlackBird recently partnered with Bye Aerospace, a developer of electric aircraft. The premise is to help make flights under 300 miles even more affordable, with Blackbird reporting that these aircraft can cost less than $50/hour to operate.

BlackBird has agreed to purchase 100 of Bye Aerospace's four-seat eFlyer 4 aircraft and 10 eFlyer 2 aircraft. These purchases total to an investment of over $40 million. The eFlyer 2 is currently under FAA certification proceedings, with the eFlyer 4 to follow.

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