Amazon secures New York helipad

Over the past couple of weeks Amazon has been in talks with New York and Virginia authorities to secure a helipad at its two new headquarters.

According to Quartz, the state Urban Development Corporation, the city economic development corporation and the New York mayor’s office will help Amazon “secure access to a helipad on the development sites”.

If Amazon cannot secure a helipad at the new headquarters, the mayor’s office will help Amazon find an alternative site within a ‘reasonable proximity’.

Whilst Amazon has not outlined exactly what the helipad will be used for, experts are thinking that these helipads could eventually be used for VTOL transport.

In an interview with Forbes Peter Schmidt, co-founder of Transcend Air on Amazon’s helipad, said: “A helipad is a useful tool even with just current helicopters. But it will only become more valuable as VTOL options mature.”

Whilst Amazon has not announced any particular use for the helipad, it aspires to take its business to the sky. The retailer is currently testing a drone-delivery service – first delivering small packages on unmanned drones. It could be also be used for VIP transport to and from the headquarters.

Many air charter companies looking at the future of inter-city air transport are targeting cities with a developed helipad infrastructure such as São Paulo and Mexico City. Running air-taxi services in these cities is viable due to the number of helipads and their more-accommodating regulatory environments.

However, most companies aspire to fly air taxi services in the US sometime in the future. But retrofitting helipads to existing buildings is hard so it would require new buildings to be built. The fact that New York officials are open to allowing new commercial helipads seems to be a good sign for the future of VTOL and drone-delivery companies.