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Wisk, Blade reach deal to operate autonomous air taxis

Wisk Aero, a start-up backed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk, reached a deal Wednesday to operate autonomous air taxis in the United States through charter flight company Blade. Photo courtesy Wisk/Facebook
Wisk Aero, a start-up backed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk, reached a deal Wednesday to operate autonomous air taxis in the United States through charter flight company Blade. Photo courtesy Wisk/Facebook

May 5 (UPI) -- Aviation company Wisk Aero reached a deal with charter flight company Blade on Wednesday to operate autonomous air taxis in the United States.

Wisk, a start-up backed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk, announced it will operate and maintain 30 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or eVTOLs, that will fly short-distance routes on Blade's network of dedicated terminals in the United States, contingent upon Federal Aviation Administration approval.

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"To date, we have been focused on developing an aircraft and customer experience that is efficient, accessible and -- most importantly -- safe," Wisk CEO Gary Gysin said in a statement. "The combination of our expertise as an autonomous eVTOL aircraft manufacturer and operator with the operational expertise of Blade will help usher in an even greater level of safety and service."

Wisk's eVTOLs are designed to fly autonomously and carry two passengers up to 25 miles on a full charge.

Blade offers chartered flights throughout the Northeast and West Coast and last month reached a deal with Beta Technologies to operate 20 piloted eVTOLs beginning in 2025.

"We look forward to working with Wisk to help accelerate Blade's transition from conventional rotocraft to safe, quiet, emission-free electric vertical aircraft," Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal said.

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