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Experiencing traffic? Book a ‘ride-sharing flight’ to your destination

By: - Reporter / @FMOrellanaINQ
/ 01:19 PM April 03, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Don’t want to be late for that important meeting? Try booking a ride, or more appropriately a flight, in this newly launched ride-sharing platform to reach your destination in no time.

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The Singapore-based helicopter ride-sharing startup Ascent launched on Wednesday its helicopter services in Metro Manila.

Ascent founder and chief executive officer Lionel Sinal-Sinelnikoff said that this new mode of transport service aims to address the traffic problem in Metro Manila.

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“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,” Sinai-Sinelnikoff said during the press launch held in Pasay City.

“With the launch of Ascent in the Philippines, we hope to provide a solution that is highly relevant in the current times’ economic and productivity pitfalls caused by congested roads,” he noted.

Experiencing traffic? Book a 'ride-sharing flight' to your destination

The executives of Ascent introduce the new mode of transportation service during a launch in Pasay City. INQUIRER.net / FAYE ORELLANA

According to the company’s executive, the country has lost P3.5 billion due to traffic congestion.

He also said that central business districts (CBDs) in Metro Manila such as Makati and Taguig have an untapped transportation opportunity given its low utilization of available helipads.

One of the helicopters to be used for the transport service is the BELL 429 that could carry up to seven commuters.

The other helicopter is the Airbus H125. The second one is smaller compared to the first, and could only carry up to five commuters.

“Through the Ascent platform, we aim to connect CBDs more easily and promote the country as an ideal destination to conduct business helped by urban air mobility,” he said.

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The helicopter services of Ascent Flights will be operated by local air operator INAEC Aviation Corp.

“Our expertise in ensuring safe and reliable air operations, combined with Ascent’s innovative technology offers perfect solution for the time-sensitive members of business community and individuals,” INAEC General Manager Aldi Dexter Ampong said.

Passengers who wished to experience a chopper ride can book through the company’s website (https://ascent.flights/).

Below are the available routes and their corresponding prices:

  • NAIA – Clark: P25,900
  • Makati – BGC: P6,900
  • NAIA – Tagaytay: P21,900
BELL 429.

BELL 429. This has a seating capacity of 7 persons, including the pilot and its co-pilot. INQUIRER.net / FAYE ORELLANA

Airbus H125

Airbus H125. This has a seating capacity of five including the pilot and its co-pilot. INQUIRER.net / FAYE ORELLANA

Passengers have two options when booking their “flights.” First is using the scheduled trips set by the company or during desired time.

Sinai-Sinelnikoff said that the scheduled trip lets the passengers discover, experience and access tourism hotspots by air arranged by Ascent.

The latter means that passengers have their own choice what areas to visit and their prescribed date.

Passengers may also 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 within this year, and eventually around Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Sinai-Sinelnikoff said.

It could be recalled that ride hailing company Grab Philippines also had their chopper services names GrabHeli back in 2015.

However, GrabHeli option is no longer available in the Philippines. Currently, Grab only offers Grab Car, Grab Food, Grab Delivery, and Grab Load. /jpv

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