Wisk To Operate Autonomous eVTOL Air Taxis for Blade

 - May 5, 2021, 11:01 AM
Wisk Aero is developing the two-seat, all-electric Cora aircraft specifically for autonomous operations. (Photo: Wisk Aero)

Wisk Aero will supply and operate up to 30 of its eVTOLs for Blade Urban Air Mobility’s passenger transportation network, the companies announced today. According to Wisk, the aircraft will be what it called its sixth-generation design rather than the two-seat, all-electric Cora currently undergoing flight testing.

The agreement between the two companies is contingent on factors such as when Wisk gets approval for autonomous flight operations. It calls for Wisk to deploy its aircraft on short routes linking Blade’s network of private terminals in various U.S. cities. The aircraft will be owned, operated, and maintained by Wisk, which will be paid according to flight duration based on minimum flight-hour guarantees.

Blade said it will publish flight-hour rates “once we are closer to launch to more accurately reflect market dynamics and operational costs.” For now, the two companies will form a working group to address what it will take to deploy autonomous air taxi operations.

In April, Blade announced an agreement under which its partner operators will acquire up to 20 Beta Technologies Alia 250 eVTOL aircraft. These five-seat vehicles will have a pilot on board and are expected to start commercial operations in the Blade network in late 2024. Blade currently provides flights in a mix of helicopters and fixed-wing amphibious aircraft.

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