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Uber is offering helicopter rides over Mumbai and Bangalore for $85

Uber is offering helicopter rides over Mumbai and Bangalore for $85

By Shruti Chakraborty June 13, 2014

While the cab-hailing app Uber is in the news elsewhere as traditional taxi drivers rise in protest in European capitals, the company, recently valued at $17 billion, looks set to enjoy a weekend of buzz around the brand in India.

In Mumbai and Bangalore, Uber is offering a one-time service this weekend–users can “hail” a chopper. Effectively, they can book a chopper ride from within the app. For Rs5,000 ($85) for two people, an Uber cab will pick you up and take you to a helipad, from where a chopper service operated by a commercial operator will take you on a 20- to 30-minute ride around the city. This will be followed by brunch and a ride back home.

In the US, Uber offered a similar service last summer offering five seats for $3,000.

“We try and look at ways to democratize premium experiences. We will see how the service goes on Father’s Day weekend and then decide on whether we can offer the service more regularly and in other parts of the country,” says Bhavik Rathod, Uber general manager in Bangalore.

Less than 5% of India’s 600,000 taxis are in the organized segment. So investors see major potential. Venture capital firms have invested more than $130 million in the last seven years in radio cab companies and in booking platforms. Uber, which entered India last year, enjoys a reputation among the young and savvy in India’s big cities for the premium vehicles–Honda Civil, Toyota Corolla, Mercedes Benz S-class and Audi A6, among others–it sends its customers.

For this weekend, the initiative is more a brand awareness exercise than anything else, and the company is hoping to attract peak interest. “We are expecting a huge demand for the service, but the number of people we can accommodate will depend on weather conditions and aviation rules about the time till which we can fly,” Rathod said.

Deals on Groupon offer a chopper ride over Mumbai by Air Deccan, the same service provider Uber is using, starting at Rs3499.

 

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About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (www.moatreport.com), a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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