Ride hailers including Uber and Bolt are cashing in on booming demand for travel, as corporates and holidaymakers flock to airports to get away in the post-pandemic era.
And ride-hailers are now also raking in profits, with huge jumps in airport transfer numbers and expansions at a range of major hubs.
In an interview with City A.M. last week, the chief executive of the German chauffeur service Blacklane said he had seen a “surge in airport transfers across the board”.
Boss Dr Jens Wohltorf told City A.M. the company, which is popular with business travellers looking for a more premium offering, had seen a lot of “airport-related business in and out of London Heathrow” but also across other hubs near the capital.
Uber last week ramped up its offering at a slew of major airports, including Heathrow and Manchester, introducing airport reserve pick-ups and live flight tracking.
The US firm said it had seen trips to UK airports, which number in the millions monthly, rise by 37 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, while its Uber reserve offering, which allows passengers to book in advance, grew 120 per cent.
Competitor Bolt meanwhile said it expects rides to some London airports like Gatwick and Luton to increase by as much as a fifth in December.
Deborah Meijer, head of operations for Bolt in London, told City A.M. the company had taken “several steps to maximise the value our service brings to passengers” as a result, for example adding extra reserve features.
The ride-hailing sector as a whole has been recovering from post-pandemic driver shortages, which have caused higher fares across a number of providers. Bolt has targeted an IPO in 2025 and is bidding to hit profitability, a rare milestone in the sector, next year.