Aerial mobility developer Wisk has officially announced a partnership with BLADE Urban Air Mobility to provide and operate up to 30 eVTOL aircraft on key routes. Wisk, originally founded from Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk, is developer of the all-electric, autonomous Cora aircraft, which has already conducted hundreds of flight tests, and has partnered with the likes of Boeing and Air New Zealand.
Blade and Wisk intend to deploy the Cora eVTOL aircraft on short distance routes between BLADE’s dedicated terminals. Wisk will maintain ownership and operating rights of the vehicles and has agreed to flight hour minimums with BLADE.
In addition to the announcement, the two companies have agreed to create a taskforce that will research the deployment of technologies necessary to expedite aircraft charging and implement next-generation air traffic management. The partnership combines Wisk’s technical expertise in vehicle design and operations with BLADE’s six years of operations experience in helicopter aerial mobility.
“We look forward to working with Wisk to help accelerate Blade’s transition from conventional rotorcraft to safe, quiet, emission-free Electric Vertical Aircraft,” said Rob Wiesenthal, CEO of Blade.
“This arrangement validates that UAM is the future of mobility,” said Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk. “To date, we have been focused on developing an aircraft and customer experience that is efficient, accessible, and — most importantly — safe. The combination of our expertise as an autonomous eVTOL aircraft manufacturer and operator, with the operational expertise of Blade, will help usher in an even greater level of safety and service.”
“The Wisk-Blade arrangement is a perfect fit for our asset light model,” said Will Heyburn, CFO and Head of Corporate Development for Blade. “Backed by Boeing’s deep aerospace experience, Wisk will own, operate and maintain their aircraft as part of our network, allowing Blade to focus on delivering a great experience to our fliers.”
Why it matters: Through this partnership, Wisk will become one of the first eVTOL manufacturers to reach commercial operation in the U.S, by utilizing BLADE’s platform and existing business and operations infrastructure. BLADE conversely benefits by leveraging eVTOLs as an early adopter, with less risk than being a developer, since Wisk will maintain ownership and day-to-day operation of the vehicles. Notably, this is BLADE’s second eVTOL developer partnership, closely following a deal with Beta Technologies last month.
Source: Wisk Press Release