Helicopters Over Manhattan
By David Henderson
Helicopters have been whisking the wealthy from Manhattan to New York’s airports for decades. Now the ride costs as little as $195, and you can book it via a smartphone.
Back in 2014, when Rob Wiesenthal founded Blade Urban Air Mobility Inc., a chopper ride to John F. Kennedy Airport—13 miles from Manhattan—started at $3,000, he says. Wiesenthal has been able to chop that price after finding efficiencies in fueling, equipment, and scheduling.
This, from Hailey Waller, “Blade Offers New York Airport Transfers for $195, Aiming at Uber Black,” Bloomberg, May 9, 2019, is incredible news.
I’m a bit of a penny pincher but I’m also an economist who understands the value of time. On top of that, based on the one time I flew in a helicopter over New York City, from Laguardia to JFK in September 1977, I love flying over big cities in helicopters.
On top of that, my marginal tax rate 0n earned income (I hate that term) is 46.6% (22% federal income tax + 15.3% FICA and HI + 9.3% state income tax). If I were in Manhattan wanting to get to an airport quickly, the odds are that I would be doing it while on a business trip and so the $195 would be fully deductible, bringing the net cost to me down to $104. That could be well worth it in many circumstances. The transportation time could be cut from over 1 hour to 10 minutes. (Of course, I would have to get to the helipad and so whether it’s worthwhile would depend on how far I am from the helipad when I’m willing to leave Manhattan.)
This is fantastic news. I love free markets.