Bristow and Electra to bring mid-mile logistics for retail distribution
Bristow Group has made its first move towards advanced air mobility, when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to purchase 50 eSTOL (electric short take-off and landing) aircraft from developer Electra.aero.
The company said it would focus on the future electric service to focus on middle mile logistics for retail distribution.
Dave Stepanek, executive vice president, sales and chief transformation officer at Bristow told Helicopter Investor: “These would include large retail distributors with regional distribution centres that need to move goods from one distribution centre to another in an expedited manner. This is increasingly important as the online consumer market continues to grow rapidly.”
Bristow and Electra.aero will collaborate on developing the new eSTOL (electric short take-off and landing) aircraft’s final configuration, specifications and design features meet FAA, EASA and Transport Canada certification and timeline requirements.
President and CEO of Bristow, Chris Bradshaw, said: “This will allow us to expand our expertise providing sustainable, innovative and efficient vertical lift and aerial transport solutions into new potential end markets like moving time-sensitive cargo and passengers regionally.”
The partnership will leverage Bristow’s existing customers logistics, as well as explore new ones for retail distribution and specialised passenger services. The company did not specify exactly which countries it was targeting for operations.
Electra and Bristow will also offer passenger services, said Stepanek. “Due to the airframe design and the hybrid electric propulsion system, we believe passenger service could start simultaneously with cargo service. These vehicles will appeal to customers that value proactive management of their carbon footprint,” he told Helicopter Investor.
John S. Langford, founder and CEO of Electra.aero said: “This collaboration will lead to a more rigorous aircraft capable of addressing operators’ needs across a variety of use cases and will help Electra develop and certify an eSTOL aircraft in as short a period of time as possible.”
Electra’s eSTOL will be able to carry between five and seven passengers or 1,800 pounds of cargo on trips of up to around 500 miles in all weather conditions, the company said.
Langford said Electra plans to deliver 50 or more aircraft to Bristow once it enters commercial service in 2026.
Bristow’s Stepanek said the company would explore eVTOL aircraft in the future too. “This simply is not a ‘this or that’ situation. As a fleet operator of traditional vertical lift aircraft, we expect to also utilise eVTOL aircraft.”