Last week in travel: Uber launches helicopter rides in New York

Last week in travel: Uber launches helicopter rides in New York

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China and Russia connected by a new highway bridge, while British Airways’s environmental performance ranks highest, and Iceland will build a resort from renewable and locally sourced materials

China and Russia connected by bridge across Amur River

China and Russia have yet another point of contact between them. The newly almost-completed bridge across the Amur River will replace ferries operating in the summer and a floating bridge used in the winter.

The two sides of the new highway bridge were joined before the end of May. However, construction will go on until October this year. The bridge is set to open in April 2020.


Until now there have been ferries carrying passengers from one side of the river to the other — Ovchinnikova Irina / ShutterstockUntil now there have been ferries carrying passengers from one side of the river to the other — Ovchinnikova Irina / Shutterstock

Measuring 1,284 metres long and 14.5 metres wide, it stretches from the Chinese border city of Heihe across the Heilongjiang River – known in Russia as the Amur River – to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.

To ensure it can survive the harsh weather, the steel girders used can withstand temperatures of -60°C. The designers of the project further used 60,000 sets of steel bolts with high weatherability. Moreover, they used green practices in order to minimise the impact on the river’s ecosystem.

The first talks of building a bridge initiated in 1988 but construction did not begin until 2016. The project cost an estimated 2.47 billion Yuan (about US$358m), of which about 70 per cent was paid by Russia.

Uber introduces helicopter rides between Manhattan and JFK airport

Running late for a flight? With Uber’s new helicopter service to JFK airport, missing a flight might not be anything to worry about anymore. However, it might cost you — the 8-minute-long ride between Manhattan and JFK will cost in the range of US$200–250.


Uber will start operating the Uber Copter on 9 July. Until then, travellers will have to keep relying on ground transport.

A journey to the airport by car takes about an hour. During rush hour, the length of it can increase to around two hours.

Other transport options include the subway and Long Island Railroad. Those, too, can take somewhere between 50 and 75 minutes per journey.

The new service promises to reduce travel time to an estimated 30 minutes, including possible ground transport.

The estimated price per person will be dynamic and will largely depend on demand. Moreover, the service will be limited to Uber’s Platinum and Diamond members, at least for now.

“This is a trip that so many travellers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it.

“Our plan is to eventually roll out Uber Copter to more Uber customers and to other cities, but we want to do it right,” said Eric Allison, the head of Uber Elevate.

BA’s short-haul fleet tops Heathrow’s Fly Quiet and Green Charts

British Airways ranks highest in the Fly Quiet and Green Charts — Arseniy Shemyakin Photo / ShutterstockBritish Airways ranks highest in the Fly Quiet and Green Charts — Arseniy Shemyakin Photo / Shutterstock

The UK’s flag carrier was ranked top in Heathrow’s Fly Quiet and Green league table. The programme evaluated the airline’s environmental performance from January to March this year.

The carrier secured the highest spot thanks to the improved Track Keeping and the increased use of Continuous Descent Approach during its short-haul flights.

Track Keeping means that the pilots keep true to the designated route which helps to guarantee periods of noise respite for local communities. Continuous Descent Approach means the airline is making more efficient use of its engines on landing.

Combined, they help to limit fuel usage and make sure that the planes fly quieter and more accurately.

Moreover, the airline sets a strong example for other airlines to follow. If even the biggest carrier can make impactful changes, smaller airlines can follow suit.

The airline’s long-haul fleet also scored highly — featuring in the top 10. It has moved 10 places up to sixth thanks to the improved track keeping and fewer early and late departures.

World’s first intelligent main-deck air cargo container

The new intelligent air cargo container might revolutionise the way we travel — vaalaa / ShutterstockThe new intelligent air cargo container might revolutionise the way we travel — vaalaa / Shutterstock

Russia’s AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and Unilode Aviation Solutions are introducing the world’s first intelligent air cargo container. The container will be digitised and fire-resistant and is set to revolutionise the delivery of air cargo shipments.

The containers have been designed using the latest technology in fire barriers for aviation. They are equipped with a Transmitting Portable Electronic Device (TPEDs) based on Unilode’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 5.0) technology.

The containers enable tracking of the unit load device and the cargo. They also allow transmission of other aspects and status updates, such as temperature, humidity, shock and light.

“TPED is the kind of technology that tightly aligns with our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to transportation of special cargoes – pharmaceutical products, perishable goods, valuables, and others,” said Sergey Lazarev, general director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines.

Unilode will deliver the first half of the ordered containers by June, while the second will arrive in September. This schedule will give airlines enough time to test the technology.

Six Senses to open a resort in Iceland in 2022

The sustainability-focused luxury hospitality brand has plans to move into Iceland. It announced a new project on the country’s southeastern coast, which is set to debut in 2022.

Six Senses Össurá Valley will be located on 4,000 acres (over 16 square km) of privately owned land in Svínhólar near Lóni.

In the resort, there will be 70 rooms and cottages built from renewable and locally sourced materials. The resort will focus on sustainability, energy and water efficiency.

It will feature a wide range of facilities, such as a library, cinema, water bar, wellness, fitness centre, spa and yoga studio. Further, there will be an organic garden and cooking school. Its chefs will organise classes containing farm-to-table recipes.

It will also include an Earth Lab explaining the project’s sustainability initiatives.

The resort aims to “be a hub for people passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and perhaps a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis by night,” as per the latest press release.


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