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Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009

Hermes-touch copter to whisk rich to Narita


Staff writer

Mori Building Co. unveiled a ritzy helicopter Friday with interior appointments provided by French luxury brand Hermes that will be used to shuttle wealthy customers between central Tokyo and Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture in just 30 minutes, brief limo ride included.

News photo
Herme-copter?: An EC135 helicopter with an interior decked out by French luxury brand Hermes is shown to the media Friday in Minato Ward, Tokyo. SATOKO KAWASAKI PHOTO

As reporters waited, the white chopper with chic orange fuselage stripe landed on the helipad atop the Ark Hills building in Tokyo's Akasaka district.

The EC135 chopper, manufactured by Eurocopter Co. in collaboration with Hermes, will take to the skies on Sept. 16 under the direction of Mori Building City Air Services Co., a subsidiary of real estate powerhouse Mori Building.

Customers can take in Hermes artistry during a ride softened by calf-leather seats and decorated wall to wall with Hermes' signature Toile H fabric, used in its travel bags and other products.

"With Hermes' craftsmanship, it is a really high-quality helicopter," said Yoshimitsu Isoi, executive vice president of Mori Building City Air Services.

"The service will enable more people to come to Tokyo more easily and will make it more convenient for Tokyo residents to go overseas. It will help them save some time and pursue a productive lifestyle," he said.

The actual flight time between Ark Hills and Narita's heliport in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, is only about 15 minutes, but a 15-minute limousine ride is needed to transport customers between the helipad and the airport.

The helicopter, which seats four, will reduce the total time it takes to get to Tokyo from Narita airport, Japan's biggest international gateway, to about 30 minutes, much shorter than the 60 to 90 minutes required by car or train.

But the luxurious ride comes at an eye-popping price: ¥75,000 one-way and ¥135,000 round trip.

Normal helicopters cost ¥50,000 one-way and ¥90,000 round trip.

But the company is offering discounts on both types of flights until the end of the year — ¥38,000 and ¥70,000 for the regular helicopter, and ¥57,000 and ¥105,000 for the Hermes edition.

The company plans to run a maximum of 22 scheduled flights a day.



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