Some Windsor travellers use helicopter to get across border to Detroit
McMahon Helicopter. (Courtesy McMahon Helicopter Services Inc.)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Some Windsor travellers are opting to pay for a helicopter to get across the border into Detroit.
The Canada-US land border is closed to non-essential travel until at least June 21, but travelers can fly across as long as they meet certain requirements, including a negative PCR test for COVID-19 within 72 hours.
Michigan-based McMahon Helicopter Services shuttles about two groups a week from Windsor Airport to Detroit.
Flights cost $1875 U.S. per trip for groups of up to four passengers. Pricing is the same for 1-4 passengers. All landing fees, customs fees, charter rates and taxes are included in the cost.
“We get numerous requests each day to provide pricing per seat, similar to a scheduled airline service, but unfortunately we’re not able to offer that,” says company president Nick McMahon.
McMahon says it is a competitive rate, considering the fees and restrictions involved.
“We feel that is it competitive given the nature of the travel restrictions,” says McMahon. “We’ve been told by customers that their alternative is to drive up to Toronto, which is a 3-4 hour drive, park at the airport, then take a commercial flight.”
McMahon says they have streamlined the process.
“Everybody has been very positive,” says McMahon. “People that have used us have had needs obviously here in the US, whether they’re property owners or they do business in the United States. They need to get over here no matter what.”
He says there is a combination of business and personal travel reasons.
“Part of the customs form does ask why you are travelling, but a few people have been for medical reason. A few people have been for personal travel,” says McMahon.
The company has informs the passengers of the customs regulations and documentation required before departure. McMahon is a FAA and Transport Canada licensed air carrier.
“You just simply fill out a passenger manifest, we’ll send you a payment link and all the information you need and in 15 minutes you can be in Detroit,” adds McMahon.
He anticipates the company will offer the service until the Windsor-Detroit land border reopens with less restrictions.