Storefront Stories – BLADE
Storefront Stories is presented by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. We are featuring various island business in hopes to promote how our local entrepreneurs are adapting to this new environment and promoting the amazing things they are doing for our island community. We will be introducing different businesses to show how they have chosen to pivot, their recent experiences, personal growth, and any tips or advice they have learned over the last 6 months.
Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc. (stylized "BLADE")
is a virtual airline based in New York City which offers air taxi services, including Nantucket. The airline contracts various operators to fly a number of scheduled destinations, and also runs an app which allows users to book ad-hoc and crowdsourced charter flights. At Nantucket Memorial airport, Blade is the only Fixed Based Operator that has a beautiful lounge. Anyone is welcome to come check out our space.
The Nantucket Chamber spoke with Brady Miller of Fixed Fly Blade, Inc.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during the time of Covid-19 both personally and professionally?
I work for BLADE which is a technology-driven aviation company. During the summer we have regular scheduled flights from New York to Nantucket. We fly seaplanes from the East River of Manhattan and Pilatus PC-12s from Westchester Airport. In addition to individual seats, we sell 10 and 20 seat packs that can be shared with family and friends and do not expire for 2 years. During the winter we fly offer the BLADEone experience from New York to Miami and Aspen. Our winter season was cut short because of COVID-19. However, we have always offered non-membership jet charters, and there was an increase in this side of the business. Personally, childcare was my biggest challenge. My wife and I both have full-time jobs, so when our son’s daycare closed, we had to figure out how to manage his care while still being effective in our work.
2. What are some ways you and your business have adjusted to this ‘new normal’?
This has been a very hard time for aviation, but through BLADE’s creative leadership, I feel that we have come out a stronger organization.
3. How has COVID-19 made you a better business person or store owner?
I don’t take anything for granted. I know every flier is important for BLADE’s success so I try my best to make sure everyone has an exceptional experience when they fly with us.
We are the only aviation company that has its own beautiful lounge (with a deck) at the airport. I take great pride in it. I want our fliers to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible when they are with us for a trip, be it scheduled or charter. Feel free to stop by and take a look.
4. What are some helpful tips and insight that you might give another leader of a business?
I am BLADE’s representative on Nantucket. During COVID, I learned a great deal from my company’s CEO, Rob Wiesenthal, and President, Melissa Tomkiel. Rob set up a daily Morning Meeting on Zoom. This helped me to feel really connected with everyone and that I was an important part of the team. This was very motivating for me.
5. What is your favorite positive outcome of COVID-19?
I feel closer to my co-workers because of the experience. We all came together and gave it everything we had to get through an incredibly hard time for the aviation industry. I am really proud of what we accomplished and the direction BLADE is heading in.
Thank you BLADE for participating in our Storefront Stories Series! Learn more about BLADE here!