Beta Technologies and Blade Urban Air Mobility have entered into a binding agreement through which Blade will secure up to 20 Beta electric vertical aircraft, becoming the company's first passenger service customer. This news comes on the heels of a recent announcement by UPS that it would buy up to 150 Beta EVA aircraft, plus charging stations, as part of its long-term solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Founded in 2017, Beta and its team of aerospace engineers are building an electric powered ecosystem for aviation, the heart of which is the Alia, the electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can carry up to six people or three standard cargo pallets. Beta's emphasis on simplicity, efficiency and sustainability has led to a pioneering electric aircraft design and the world's largest aircraft charging network. Beta's customers are in the key aerospace markets of logistics, medical, defence and now passenger.
“Blade is flying people in and out of cities every day, and we're excited to partner together with the leader in UAM to create a new paradigm in passenger aviation,” says Kyle Clark, Beta's founder and CEO. “Beta is a pragmatic company building pragmatic aircraft. It's clear that the simplicity of our approach, strength of our technology, consistent progress against our timelines as well as the expertise of our team resonates with the best operators in the world. We are extremely excited to partner with Blade and serve the passenger mission.”
Blade founder and CEO Rob Wiesenthal adds: “We are laser-focused on our transition from conventional rotorcraft to electric vertical aircraft. The Alia's extremely low sound footprint coupled with its zero emissions design will enable us to reduce the noise and environmental impact to the communities surrounding the existing heliport and airport infrastructure we currently use. The Alia is a full-scale EVA flying in piloted configuration almost every day. The team's progress is formidable. Beta's scheduled delivery beginning in 2024 is ahead of our current projected deployment of EVA in 2025. The transaction, consistent with our asset-light operating model, allows Blade to leverage our significant flight volumes and third-party financing relationships to support the purchase of Beta aircraft by our operator partners.”
Blade Urban Air Mobility has become Beta's first passenger service partner, securing up to 20 of the first passenger-configured Alia EVAs for purchase by its network of operators and third-party financing partners, with delivery scheduled to begin in late 2024. Beta's Alia aircraft will have a 250 nautical mile range with a cruising speed of up to 170 miles per hour. Blade's service with the Alia will begin on select routes using Blade's existing private terminal infrastructure. These aircraft will be deployed for a diverse set of mission profiles to and from city centers across multiple geographies.
In addition to today's passenger service news, Beta's technological capability across commercial, defence and cargo applications has been validated by a diverse customer mix.
Beta has developed immersive flight simulators, located in Burlington, Vermont, Washington, DC and Springfield, Ohio, and a curriculum to train pilots on electric powered aircraft, to match an anticipated surge in demand.