First off, I would like to congratulate everyone who’s recently signed up to have a chopper take you to and from work for the extremely reasonable fee of $200 a day. According to Liberty Helicopters, which begins weekday service next month, there’s been a huge interest in the service, which is heartening.
Liberty has already been approached by 150 potential clients after about a month of advertising, Patrick Day, a pilot and vice president of charter marketing, said in an interview in the cabin of a twin-engine Dauphin at the carrier’s base in Linden, New Jersey. The interest may reflect how far Wall Street has bounced back, said Robert Grotell, an independent transportation consultant in Port Jefferson, New York.
“When an economy turns sour, corporate air transportation seems to be one of the first things that’s affected, and it’s usually one of the last things to come back,” Grotell said in a telephone interview. Corporate clients are responsible for about one-third of helicopter traffic in the New York area, which slid as much as 30 percent in 2009 from a year earlier, he said. “Maybe the economic turnaround is well under way,” Grotell said.
People have apparently been starting to reserve their rides for the summer “earlier than they have in years past” which is phenomenal news. And they’re already starting to think about blowing off work, sans shame, which is great. (“You have guys that are getting overwhelmed on a Friday in June and they just can’t deal with the traffic,” Day said. “At 4 o’clock, I have a helicopter right there.”) Nevertheless, we are most certainly not there yet. According to Liberty, most clients have been signing up for “single-seat” rides, meaning they’re shoved in their with five other guys instead of having the place to themselves, like in years prior to ’09. That makes it practically like public transportation and while I don’t want to scoff because it’s still progress, we need to do better. Right now reformed heli-commuter Joe Gregory is merely salivating at the thought. Let’s get him full on JO&C’ing at what he’s missing out on (because he has nowhere to go).