Vertical flight solutions company Bristow Group has entered into a partnership with Germany-based urban air mobility (UAM) startup Volocopter to develop commercial passenger and cargo services using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the U.S. and U.K. According to the companies, the partnership will include cooperating on building a UAM ecosystem with the development agreement covering “the exploration of commercial, operational, and eVTOL aircraft maintenance services.” As part of the arrangement, Bristow has placed a firm order for two Volocopter VoloCity eVTOLs with an option to purchase 78 additional aircraft.
“Launching this collaborative effort with Volocopter marks a major milestone in Bristow’s effort to usher in a new era of vertical transportation solutions,” said Dave Stepanek, Bristow executive vice president and chief transformation officer. “Volocopter has taken a pragmatic approach to certification with a simple and elegant initial aircraft design and is leading the pack in its efforts to bring their aircraft to market.”
Volocopter reports that it has conducted more than 1,500 test flights with the VeloCity to date. The company says it expects to receive EASA certification for its eVTOL design in 2024 with FAA certification to follow shortly. As previously reported by AVweb, Bristow has formed similar partnerships with other eVTOL developers including BETA Technologies, Lilium and Overair.