Global helicopter operator Bristow Group has added yet another tentative order for electric-powered aircraft, unveiling a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lilium that could lead to the purchase of up to 50 Lilium Jets.

In addition, Bristow will also provide Part 145 maintenance services for the Lilium Jet’s launch network in Florida and “other future US and European markets”. The German aircraft developer hopes to secure certification for the jet in 2025.

Florida Final-c-Lilium

Source: Lilium

Launch network for Lilium Jet will be in Florida

Under the “non-binding” MoU, the pair will develop a maintenance programme to support the operation of the Lilium Jet and will enable Bristow to become an authorised service provider for Lilium. It could also see the operator flying the jets in Florida and the purchase of as many as 50 examples.

Including the agreement with Lilium, Bristow has now racked up six separate agreements with developers of full- or hybrid-electric aircraft as it works to become “more sustainable and innovative”, says chief transformation officer Dave Stepanek.

He sees advanced air mobility aircraft as complementing rather than replacing its conventional rotorcraft fleet.

“We really see this as an opportunity to create a parallel path for Bristow and continue operating traditional helicopters for search and rescue and long-range oil transportation.

“We can operate in parallel, because those vehicles will grant us access to markets that we can’t work in today because of either cost or noise.”

Should Bristow take the maximum number of aircraft covered by the six current agreements it would see the firm operating 400 new-generation air vehicles in addition to its current 213-strong helicopter fleet. Additional orders are also in the pipeline.

But Stepanek denies the operator has over-ordered or is hedging against one of the programmes failing to achieve certification. “We have looked at each of these aircraft OEMs and looked at the applications that we want for early adoption and these are the numbers we think we’ll need.”

Bristow has so far only made “small” financial commitments as part of its agreements, says Stepanek.

“What we are using is our ‘sweat equity’ to help this process and thereby secure early delivery positions and help to shape the general operations of these aircraft.”