Bristow Group has ordered five eVTOL ALIA-250 aircraft manufactured by BETA Technologies, with the option to purchase an additional 50 ALIA aircraft, which will have a maximum range of 250 nautical miles and carry 1,400 lbs of payload, or six people including a pilot.

With a 50-foot wingspan and a carbon-fibre fuselage, the aircraft uses a single distributed direct-electric propulsion system and has four horizontally mounted rotors to provide vertical lift and a single propeller in the rear to propel the aircraft forward.

Bristow executive VP Dave Stepanek said: “This order firmly positions Bristow as an early adopter and leader in pragmatically developing advanced air mobility operations and ushering in a new era in vertical lift solutions.

“By leveraging our 70+ years of expertise as a leader in vertical lift, we plan to use the BETA ALIA to safely and reliably move passengers and time-sensitive cargo as part of the development of new regional mobility networks in the US and other strategic locations.”

BETA founder and CEO Kyle Clark added: “We designed ALIA with reliability, efficiency, and the highest-value cargo in mind, all of which are central to the types of critical missions Bristow carries out on a global stage.

“Over the past few months, we have made strides with our flight test program, proving the aircraft is capable of performing in conditions it will see in service. We are gratified by Bristow’s confidence in our continued progress, and we look forward to partnering to provide a safe and sustainable system to transform regional transportation.”

The battery is charged in under an hour using BETA’s own charging infrastructure, which can be deployed as a standalone fixture to enable airport operations or integrated into a charging pad for off-airport applications.