Commuter helicopter service takes off in Pearl River Delta

31 Dec 2015 by Jeremy Tredinnick

Today sees the inaugural flight of a new helicopter commuter service launched by Shenzhen-based, privately owned aviation company Astro Air Co Ltd.

The initial rollout links three major business cities in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of Guangdong province: Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. The takeoff and landing points are located in the CBDs of the former two cities, and the Hengqin area of the latter, adjacent to Macau.

A single trip ticket costs RMB4,999 (US$770). Travel time will be about half an hour – a fifth of the time it would take by any other form of transportation, according to Zhu Zilin, head of Astro Air’s helicopter service team.

In an interview with China Daily, Zhu said, “The airborne taxi service has been launched to meet the growing need for efficient, point-to-point business travel as regional economic exchanges within the PRD and between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau get closer after the Guangdong free trade zone was established.”

Astro Air plans to expand the service to other Guangdong cities such as Dongguan, Foshan and Jiangmen, and in late 2016 bring the inter-city helicopter service to the Yangtze Delta region, connecting Shanghai with cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Down the line the company is also looking at the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.

“Business trips by helicopter are common in overseas metropolises such as New York, Tokyo and Sydney. As China’s economy develops, more options for transportation should be provided to meet the needs of different types of travellers,” said Zhu.

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Jeremy Tredinnick

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