Medical business shines as Blade reports Q4 2023 results


Blade’s organ transport service continues to expand as revenue increased 47.9% to $32m in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023.

Driven partly by the addition of new transplant centre customers and increased average trip distance, the medical business has more than tripled in growth since 2021. Towards the end of last the firm added eight Hawker 800 aircraft to its dedicated organ transportation fleet. The aircraft – which had previously been dedicated to Blade’s organ transport service –amounted to $21m.

“We’ve made huge progress transitioning more and more of our Medical flights to dedicated aircraft that provide us with fixed cost leverage as we grow and are strategically based near our hospital customers,” said Will Heyburn, Blade’s chief financial officer. 

He calls it a “win-win” that has enabled Blade to increase its profit per trip while reducing costs for hospital customers. “When paired with our growing fleet of medical vehicles and new organ placement offering, we believe we’ve built the most cost-effective and reliable end-to-end organ logistics platform in the United States. At the same time, we improved our passenger flight profit margins by five percentage points in Q4 2023 versus the prior year, demonstrating our path to full-year profitability in the passenger segment, which we expect in 2025.”

A 57.8% increase in medical segment adjusted EBITDA to $2.5m in Q4 2023, alongside a $1.1m improvement in passenger segment adjusted EBITDA to $(2.6)m, is largely why overall adjusted EBITDA has improved to $(5.2)m versus $(8.0)m in the last quarter of 2022. Adjusted EBITDA also improved as a percentage of revenues to (11.1)% in the Q4 2023 from (20.9)% in the prior year. 

Rob Wiesenthal, Blade’s CEO, said: “After a rewarding year of strong growth, flight profit margin expansion and cost structure improvements, we are now confident to begin providing guidance to our investors for positive adjusted EBITDA for the year-ending December 31, 2024 and double-digit adjusted EBITDA in 2025.”

Looking at 2024, Blade expects revenue of $240m to $250m and, as noted, positive adjusted EBITDA moving into double digits in 2025.

Highlights of Q4 2023 included:

A total revenue increase of 24.5% to $47.5m versus $38.1m in the prior year period. Flight profit increased 65.7% to $9m versus $5.4m in the prior year period, whilst flight margin  improved to 19% in the current quarter from 14.3% in the prior year period. 

Short distance revenue increased 13.6% to $10.7m versus $9.4m in the prior year. Blade said growth was driven by an increase in seat volume and improved pricing across its New York by-the-seat airport transfer product, as well as increased revenue in Europe and Canada.

Finally, net loss increased 120.2% to $(33.9)m in Q4 2023 versus $(15.4)m in the prior year period. This was primarily due to a $20.8m impairment charge on intangible assets related to the Blade Europe acquisition, said the firm. All of which amounted to it ending Q4 2023 with $166.1m in cash and short term investments.

Melissa Tomkiel, Blade’s President, concluded: “Our Medical business has more than tripled since our acquisition of Trinity in 2021, presenting us with an opportunity to further leverage our scale through the acquisition of a limited number of jet aircraft. By purchasing aircraft that we already utilize exclusively and by maintaining the existing operator and crews, we expect to capture incremental fixed cost leverage without the risk of building a new medical aircraft operation from the ground up.”