Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blade India and Jaunt sign MoU for eVTOL aircraft operations in India

Electric air taxis are one of the newer technologies and developments in the aerospace industry. eVTOL manufacturers, vertiport developers, and aviation operators around the world are all gearing up to reach the finish line in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) race.

FlyBlade India (Blade India), a joint venture between Blade Air Mobility and Hunch Ventures, and Jaunt Air Mobility have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at launching electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft operations in India and the subcontinent region by 2027. The MoU includes Blade India’s intended acquisition of 150 Jaunt Journey aircraft, with an option to order another 100 aircraft to meet the projected demand over the next decade.

As the third-largest aviation market in the world, India is undergoing a major transformation with a growing need for seamless and faster connectivity to connect passengers in urban areas. In a similar effort, Blade India has established short-haul mobility services in cities nationwide.

Jaunt Air Mobility has pioneered the all-electric Jaunt Journey, an aircraft that combines helicopter and fixed-wing flight capabilities, highlighting safety, low noise, and operational efficiencies. It is pursuing a Transport Category certification for its aircraft, equivalent to that of commercial airliners.

The two firms expect to collaborate in specific areas that are critical to support future short-haul mobility operations. They are working to explore the development of key infrastructure capabilities in aircraft charging and energy distribution technologies. In turn, Jaunt intends to use Blade India’s existing short-haul operational and customer experience to support the development of the Jaunt Journey aircraft and its integration into the Indian airspace.

The Journey eVTOL aircraft has a maximum speed of 175 mph (281 km/h) and ranges between 80 and 100 miles (128-160 km). The aircraft’s efficiency comes from a mix of both helicopter and fixed-wing capabilities. Thanks to the Slowed-Rotor Compound (SRC) technology, it can take off and land vertically but operate like an airplane during flight. The technology also makes Journey almost completely silent, making Journey ideal for operating in busy urban areas. It can help drastically reduce pollution and noise levels compared to standard helicopters.

“With its vast expanse and increasing congestion, India is one of the biggest markets in the world for AAM solutions. With BLADE’s first mover advantage in nurturing the Urban Air Mobility ecosystem in India and Jaunt’s technical expertise, this partnership is well poised to pioneer the transition to electric and revolutionize the transportation system,” said Amit Dutta, Managing Director, Blade India.