Blade Urban Air Mobility and Wisk Aero have arranged for Wisk to provide Blade with up to 30 electric vertical aircraft (EVA or eVTOL).
Wisk is a UAM company dedicated to delivering safe, everyday flight and is behind the first all-electric, autonomous eVTOL aircraft in the US. Following FAA certification, Blade and Wisk intend to deploy the aircraft on short-distance routes between Blade's network of dedicated terminals throughout the US, with Wisk aircraft being chartered by Blade at an hourly rate on those routes. Wisk will be compensated based on Blade flight time utilised on the aircraft, which will be owned, operated and maintained by Wisk for Blade's use. Blade expects to leverage its existing flight volumes to provide minimum flight hour guarantees to Wisk. Wisk's deployment of its aircraft on Blade routes is subject to the parties entering into definitive agreements.
Blade and Wisk will also form a working group to assist in the deployment of technologies necessary for aircraft charging and next-generation air traffic management. The working group will also leverage Blade's six years of experience with UAM services in the most congested markets to inform future Wisk design principles. Wisk currently operates autonomous eVTOL aircraft pursuant to experimental type certificates and plans to begin initial test flights in Blade's key service areas when possible.
“We look forward to working with Wisk to help accelerate Blade's transition from conventional rotorcraft to safe, quiet, emission-free electric vertical aircraft,” says Rob Wiesenthal, CEO of Blade.
“This arrangement validates that UAM is the future of mobility,” adds 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.”
Blade CFO Will Heyburn comments: “The Wisk-Blade arrangement is a perfect fit for our asset light model. Backed by Boeing's deep aerospace experience, Wisk will own, operate and maintain its aircraft as part of our network, allowing Blade to focus on delivering a great experience to our fliers.”
Blade and Wisk are both committed to an open network approach to urban air mobility. Wisk intends to provide aircraft to multiple customer-facing platforms while Blade expects to utilise a variety of EVA, based on mission requirements, and recently announced that it has secured 20 piloted EVA from a third-party manufacturer, scheduled for deployment starting in late 2024. The agreement was forged with EVA OEM Beta Technologies.