SAO PAULO, June 19 (Reuters) – Electric aircraft maker Eve (EVEX.N) and Blade Air Mobility (BLDE.O) are expanding their partnership to integrate Eve’s upcoming flying car into Blade’s European route network, starting with France, the companies said on Monday.

The deal follows similar agreements between the firms, which are currently participating in the Paris Airshow, to use Eve’s electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) in India and the United States.

Eve is controlled by Brazilian planemaker Embraer (EMBR3.SA) and expects to start commercial operations of its vehicle in 2026.

Eve and Blade said in a statement that under their new memorandum of understanding, Blade would focus on developing practical applications for air mobility, including identifying future routes in France and other European countries.

They did not say if the deal would involve new eVTOL purchases by Blade, whose current European operations include flying conventional helicopters between Nice and Monaco.

Eve and Blade last year agreed to deploy up to 200 electric aircraft in India, after also signing a letter of intent for operations in the U.S., where Eve expects to provide up to 60 vehicles per year.

“Extending our partnership with Eve underscores Blade’s commitment to leading the transition from conventional to electric vertical aircraft,” Blade Chief Executive Officer Rob Wiesenthal said.

Eve holds a backlog of nearly 2,800 orders before starting production, with development backed by investors such as United Airlines (UAL.O) and Rolls-Royce (RR.L).

The firm recently announced the first equipment suppliers for its eVTOLs and expects to start building its first full-scale prototype in the second half. Additional testing is planned for 2024.

Eve CEO Andre Stein said he expected the extended partnership with Blade to allow the companies to combine expertise and resources to make travel more accessible and drive environmental improvements.

Blade last year acquired the charter and scheduled flight operations of European firms Monacair, Heli Securite and Azur Helicoptere, which it said would be “crucial” for ongoing technical and commercial discussions with Eve.

Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Steven Grattan and Jamie Freed

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Gabriel Araujo

Thomson Reuters

Gabriel is a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based reporter covering Latin America’s financial and breaking news from the region’s largest economy. A graduate of the University of Sao Paulo, joined Reuters while in college as a Commodities & Energy intern and has been with the firm ever since. Previously covered sports – including soccer and Formula One – for Brazilian radios and websites.

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