Leaders in vertical flight solutions, Bristow Group and Volocopter have signed an agreement to develop passenger and cargo services for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the US and the UK.

As part of the agreement, Bristow has placed an order for two VoloCity aircraft, which will be delivered upon certification, with the option to acquire an additional 78 aircraft in the future.

The partnership aims to establish a UAM ecosystem, featuring regulatory negotiations, infrastructural exploration and the formation of local partnerships.

The cooperative development agreement encompasses the investigation of commercial, operational and eVTOL aircraft maintenance services.

Bristow and Volocopter bring a combined range of aviation knowledge spanning from Bristow’s vertical flight solutions and global support network to Volocopter’s development and certifications.

Bristow executive VP and chief transformation officer Dave Stepanek emphasised the company’s anticipation for the partnership: “Launching this collaborative effort with Volocopter marks a major milestone in Bristow’s effort to usher in a new era of vertical transportation solutions.

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“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.”

The joint deal sets out to establish the implementation of VoloIQ, Volocopter’s digital platform, to enable efficient future operations at Bristow.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency expects Volocopter to get final certification in 2024, while concurrent certification is expected in 2025.

As previously reported, the German-based startup Volocopter secured $170 million in its Series E fundraising round to enable the commercial launch of its electric passenger air taxi in major cities across the world.