Bristow Group and Lilium have entered into a new strategic partnership, which could see the offshore helicopter operator add 50 of Lilium’s eVTOL aircraft to its fleet.
The companies announced their non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the Farnborough International Airshow on July 18, which, along with the potential aircraft orders, enables Bristow to become an authorized service provider for Lilium. Bristow is to provide Part 145 maintenance services for the Lilium Jet’s launch network with Ferrovial in Florida, and other future U.S and European markets.
“The Bristow partnership builds on our existing partnerships with other best-in-class organizations,” said Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, in a press release. “Like our other partners, Bristow is regarded as the best in their field. They are a leading maintenance provider with incredible operational experience.”
The partnership with Lilium is just the latest in a series of moves from Bristow as it works to expand its ties to the advanced air mobility industry. The helicopter operator also has partnerships with Elroy Air, Overair, Eve Air Mobility, Vertical Aerospace and eSTOL developer Electra.aero for future aircraft orders.
Christopher Bradshaw, president and CEO of Bristow, calls the partnership with Lilium “a cornerstone of Bristow’s future operational outlook.”
“Bristow has played a key role in successfully introducing several new VTOL platforms for the past 50-plus years, so it is a natural evolution for us to take a leading role in the new and exciting advanced air mobility market and lend our expertise to innovative and dynamic companies like Lilium,” Bradshaw said. “We are excited about the future of vertical lift and the important role Bristow and companies like Lilium will play together.”
The proposed arrangement between Bristow and Lilium is subject to the parties finalizing commercial terms and entering into definitive agreements.
Lilium is targeting type certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2025 for its Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft. The German startup plans to bring to market aircraft that can be reconfigured to a premium four-passenger “club cabin,” a six-passenger shuttle cabin, and a cargo cabin.
The company recently confirmed that it will be using Zenlabs’ battery technology to power its aircraft, and has announced several design modifications since completing its preliminary design review (PDR). This includes adding in a new short running landing capability, as well as reducing the number of electric ducted fans from 36 to 30.
The eVTOL developer is currently carrying out its flight test program in Spain using its technology demonstrator.