Ride-hail service Uber is about to go airborne: The company said Thursday it's readying its first helicopters for takeoff in New York City starting July 9.

 

Uber is rolling out Uber Copter service for its Uber Reward Platinum and Diamond cardholders, offering the top-tier members an 8-minute helicopter ride to or from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street and John F. Kennedy International Airport. The total ride, including Uber car pickups to and from the helipads, at both ends of the journey, will cost between $200 and $225 one way, depending on rider demand at the time of service.

Uber said the service would help time-pressed riders save up to an hour they would otherwise spend in congested city traffic to and from JFK airport. The service can be booked up to one hour prior and pre-booked as many as five days in advance.

Uber Copter is the latest perk the company has unveiled for premium riders, as Uber continues to struggle with lackluster earnings following a dismal IPO debut at $45 a share. Uber shares lost more than 7% in its first day of trading, and it continues to bet on services like Uber Eats in hopes of eventually becoming profitable. Uber last month, for instance, unveiled a "quiet mode" option for riders to discretely request drivers not engage them in conversation during the ride. Shares were back at $45 each on Thursday.

The company is planning to expand the availability of Uber Copter over the coming weeks and months, testing the launch for a future aerial ride-sharing network, according to an Uber spokesperson.