Smartphone apps are becoming even broader to meet consumer demand – and now, a company in Beijing is providing helicopter hailing services through the simple touch of a button.
Didi Kuaidi – which runs the popular taxi-service apps Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache – began its test run for a new helicopter business on Saturday.
By making appointment a day beforehand on its Zhuanche (“special car”) app, customers were able to book a place onboard.
Thousands of people across China tried to reserve a seat on a helicopter, but only 100 received admission on Saturday.
During the two-day test of the service – which will end on Sunday – only two routes are available. These include an aerial tour to the scenic Yanqi Lake on the outskirts of Beijing where the APEC meetings were held last year, and a round trip to Beijing’s neighboring city of Tianjin.
The trips cost 1,999 yuan ($306 US dollars) per person for the Yanqi Lake trip and 3,500 yuan ($564 US dollars) a head for the jaunt to Tianjin. The tours last for about 40 minutes.
When asked why there are only two routes available, Lyu Qigang, a marketing operations director from Beijing-based Reignwood Star General Aviation Ltd., told the Beijing Daily that low-altitude flight routes are restricted in China. Didi Kuadi is contracting Reignwood for the helicopter flights.
“We are certified for low-altitude flying, but before each flight, we need to report to the relevant government departments,” said Lyu.
After the test flights end on Sunday, the company will decide whether to continue the service based on the public’s reaction.