Two major players in the aviation industry, Bristow Group, the leading provider of innovative vertical flight solutions, and Volocopter, a front-runner in Urban Air Mobility (UAM), have announced a partnership to advance electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) services for both passengers and cargo in the U.S. and U.K.
Within the scope of this alliance, Bristow has committed to a purchase of two Volocopter VoloCity aircraft, set to be delivered post-certification. The agreement also lays the groundwork for the potential acquisition of 78 additional aircraft in the future. Both companies will kickstart their collaboration by focusing on regulatory engagements, infrastructure planning, and establishing local partnerships to foster a cohesive UAM ecosystem.
The partnership will also encompass the development of commercial, operational, and eVTOL maintenance services. A particular point of interest is the integration of Volocopter's exclusive digital platform, VoloIQ, optimized for Bristow's future operations. This synergistic venture combines Bristow's reputation for reliable vertical flight operations and their global service framework with Volocopter's dedication to developing a sustainable eVTOL aircraft.
The eVTOL segment has experienced exponential growth within the electric aviation sector. The VoloCity, characterized by its emission-free flights and minimal noise, offers Bristow the chance to explore new avenues and services in urban areas.
Certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is anticipated by Volocopter in 2024. A simultaneous certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could potentially lead to the inauguration of commercial services in the U.S. shortly after.
Dave Stepanek, Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer for Bristow, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration: “Partnering with Volocopter represents a significant step in Bristow's journey to redefine vertical transportation. Volocopter's focus on certification and their streamlined aircraft design sets them apart. Drawing on our 75+ years of experience and innovation, we're eager to contribute to the introduction of new aircraft and market development alongside Volocopter.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Christian Bauer, CFO & CCO of Volocopter, stated: “This partnership with Bristow, along with the secured VoloCity orders, advances our position in the industry. The collaboration has bolstered our pre-orders, now exceeding 500, with close to 30 confirmed orders from notable partners. We're optimistic about the vast opportunities within the U.S. and U.K. markets and are keen to leverage Bristow's vast experience as we approach operational stages.”