Tech startup Ascent launched its pioneer helicopter ride-sharing platform in the country in an effort to help Filipinos save time, live better and boost productivity by making commuting more efficient in the traffic-congested capital and connecting major cities.
Founded last year by CEO Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff and chief commercial officer Darren Tng, the company sells helicopter flights in the Philippines. Passengers can buy their seat at a fingertip and fly between locations such as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, central business districts (CBDs) in Makati, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, and Quezon City, as well as regional locations in Clark and Tagaytay. The helicopter services will be operated by pioneer air operator INAEC Aviation Corporation (INAEC).
The Philippines is expected to lose P5.4 billion daily by 2035 despite interventions done for traffic congestion in Metro Manila, according to a 2017 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Ascent and INAEC aim to provide an alternative, safe, reliable, and more convenient way of traveling in the city by air, which allows customers to avoid traffic, take control of their time, and utilize it to seize more business opportunities as well as for personal purposes.
“Despite being one of the fastest growing business hubs in Southeast Asia, Manila’s traffic situation is also one of the most challenging in the region. With the launch of Ascent in the Philippines, we hope to provide a solution that is highly relevant to the current times’ economic and productivity pitfalls caused by congested roads,” said Sinai-Sinelnikoff.
“CBDs in Metro Manila have an untapped transportation opportunity. There is a good number of helipads and helicopters with low utilization. Through the Ascent platform, we aim to connect CBDs more easily and promote the country as an ideal destination to conduct business helped by urban air mobility.”
Urban Air Mobility or UAM, more than just a rising buzz word, is a kind of transportation that spares commuters from the chokepoints met by vehicles travelling by land.
In providing access to a more seamless and cost-efficient travelling experience for commuters, Ascent also offers services such as luggage transport, on-ground guest assistance, airport transfers via helicopter, shuttle services to dedicated heliports, and corporate packages. Ascent also offers dedicated enterprise solutions.
“We are confident that having a platform like Ascent is timely—it’s what this generation needs. The fast-paced era of digital transformation is a reality and the way people move from one city to another, be it for work or play, should match the speed of digitization,” said Aldi Dexter Ampong, GM of INAEC.
“Our expertise in ensuring safe and reliable air operations, combined with Ascent’s innovative technology and passion for customer experience, offers the perfect solution for the time-sensitive members of the business community and individuals in search of a better and more productive life.”
Ascent hopes to make the services accessible to more customers as it plans to expand to more locations in the Philippines, including major cities in Visayas and Mindanao, as well as other Southeast Asian countries in the next few years.