Luxury agents could be turning to helicopter travel to include as a staycation option for clients.
Apollo Air Services – which will work with the trade and offers commission – is already experiencing a spike in enquiries since the coronavirus crisis took hold, with a 40% year-on-year increase, with half of these enquiries from first-time customers.
The UK VIP helicopter company also said it is now pioneering “Covid-free helicopter travel”, with its aircraft using the “ground-breaking air purification systems” of Aviation Clean Air, which is said to deactivate 99.4% of airborne viruses, including Covid-19.
The firm said it was the first helicopter company in the UK to do so, with the technology meaning passengers and crew could now feel safe knowing purified air and surfaces they touch during the helicopter flight are safe.
It’s hoped the latest move will bolster the new interest levels in helicopter travel even more, as more leisure and business travellers look to this method for a number of factors as well as hygiene, such as privacy, ease of travel, being able to travel as a “bubble” of close family, friends or colleagues, and flexibility on where they can take off and land.
The technology means passengers are not required to wear masks or gloves in-flight on the Apollo helicopters, which seat up to six customers.
“We’re delighted to be the first helicopter charter company to have this ground-breaking technology on our aircraft, which will allow our clients to travel with peace of mind that they aren’t putting themselves at risk of the covid virus,” said Steve Graham, director and chief pilot at Apollo Air Services.
“Helicopters offer a fast, safe and convenient way to travel from point to point, without the need to take public transport, visit busy airports or spend time in queues,” he added. “Apollo is complying with, and exceeding, UK government guidelines to support the health and welfare of its passengers and crew… and we are seeing a growing demand for helicopter travel in the current landscape, where health and hygiene have become top priorities.”
Established in 2013, Apollo Air Services is one of the largest VIP providers of helicopter charter and helicopter management services in the UK and has bases in Carlisle, Leeds, St Andrews, Cardiff and Cambridge – but in theory, the aircraft can operate almost anywhere, even from back gardens, in some client’s cases.
All Apollo’s fleet are latest generation Leonardo Agusta Westland 109’s, with maximum average journey length of around 2-2:15hrs, depending on the weight of passengers, luggage and fuel on board and weather conditions, which means customers could travel the length of England up to the border with Scotland, in one hop.
Sample return trips per helicopter could range from £6,800 for a Cumbria-London journey (for up to six people), or London to Paris from £5,900.