Bristow Helicopters has agreed to purchase up to 80 VoloCity eVTOL aircraft from German eVTOL developer Volocopter. Under the new agreement announced on September 7, the helicopter operator will work with Volocopter to develop an urban air mobility ecosystem for passengers and cargo in the U.S. and UK.
According to Volocopter, Bristow placed a firm order for two VoloCity aircraft with the option to purchase an additional 78 vehicles in the future. Volocopter expects to have the two-seat VoloCity certified for commercial use in Europe by June 2024, and it intends to conduct flight demonstrations during the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. The FAA has agreed to concurrently validate Volocopter’s EASA type certification, and the company says it aims to launch air taxi services in major U.S. cities like Los Angeles and New York.
In the meantime, Bristow and Volocopter will work together to ensure a smooth launch of eVTOL services in the U.S. and UK, where Bristow intends to operate the VoloCity aircraft. The joint development agreement includes discussions on regulatory affairs, infrastructure, and aircraft maintenance services, as well as Volocopter’s VoloIQ operating system.
Bristow already operates a fleet of more than 240 helicopters around the world, primarily serving customers in the oil and gas sectors, though it also provides charter flights and search-and-rescue services. The company has been proactively signing sales agreements with several eVTOL aircraft developers over the past two years as it prepares to electrify its fleet. It has also placed firm orders or signed provisional sales agreements with Beta Technologies, Lilium, Vertical Aerospace, Electra.aero, Eve, Overair, and Elroy Air.