Bristow Group Inc., the world’s leading global provider of innovative and sustainable vertical flight solutions, and Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), have signed an agreement to explore and develop passenger and cargo services for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the U.S. and U.K.
As part of this collaboration, Bristow has placed a firm order for two VoloCity aircraft to be delivered after certification with an option to purchase a further 78 vehicles in the future. Both parties will begin immediate cooperation to build a UAM ecosystem that includes regulatory discussions, infrastructure exploration, and local partnership building.
The joint development agreement covers the exploration of commercial, operational, and eVTOL aircraft maintenance services, including adaptation of the VoloIQ, Volocopter’s proprietary digital platform, to ensure Bristow’s efficient future operations. This collaboration brings forth a wealth of aviation expertise – Bristow’s reliable vertical flight operations and an existing global service network, as well as Volocopter’s dedicated development and certification of a safe, quiet, and sustainable eVTOL aircraft.
The eVTOL is a rapidly growing segment of electric aviation. With no emissions in flight and an ultra-low noise signature, the addition of the VoloCity to Bristow’s operational fleet opens doors to new routes and service opportunities within urban environments.
Volocopter expects to receive final certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2024, while concurrent certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could enable the company to start commercial services in the U.S. shortly thereafter.
Dave Stepanek, Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer for Bristow said: “Launching this collaborative effort with Volocopter marks a major milestone in Bristow’s effort to usher in a new era of vertical transportation solutions. 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. We are looking forward to lending our 75+ years of innovation and expertise in bringing new aircraft into service and developing new markets side-by-side Volocopter.”
Christian Bauer, CFO & CCO of Volocopter, added: “Our partnership with Bristow and the firm VoloCity orders received propels us forward as we unlock new markets. With this collaboration, Volocopter surpassed 500 pre-orders accumulated including nearly 30 firm orders from reputational partners. I am filled with excitement toward the vast potential of the U.S. and U.K. markets and looking forward to working with Bristow’s experienced team as we prepare for operations.”