Air Taxi Company Partners to Build Vertiports in Florida

UrbanLink recently agreed to purchase 20 electric vertical takeoff and landing jets from Lilium to operate in South Florida

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

June 25, 2024

4 Min Read
Looking down at UrbanLink vertiports from the sky

UrbanLink Air Mobility, a South Florida advanced air mobility (AAM) startup, is partnering with Ferrovial Vertiports to develop sites for the takeoff, landing and charging of electric aerial vehicles. 

UrbanLink recently agreed to purchase 20 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jets from Lilium to operate the electric aerial vehicles (EAV) in South Florida.

Service is planned to start in 2026, with UrbanLink, Ferrovial and Lilium determining service routes and vertiport locations for initial eVTOL flights.

“We are committed to partnering with industry leaders such as Ferrovial Vertiports to build out the AAM framework, including well-designed, safe and efficient vertiports in our target areas of operation,” said Ed Wegel, founder and chairman of UrbanLink.

“This partnership is a critical step in accelerating the deployment of our Lilium Jets and enhancing connectivity in the U.S., bringing us one step closer to making AAM a reality. We will continue to lead this charge with our partners.”

UrbanLink also has an option to purchase 20 additional electric jets.

The EAV is not yet ready for delivery, with the first flight tests of the Lilium Jet with a pilot planned for later this year.

Lilium is seeking dual type-certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its flying vehicle.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Lands 20-Unit Order for US Operations

Lilium recently partnered with an electric vehicle charging infrastructure and microgrid company Star Charge and ordered 120 chargers for its ground and flight-testing vehicles.

The deal followed an earlier announcement that Lilium was teaming with jet and helicopter operator PhilJets to establish AAM services in the Philippines and other Southeast Asia countries.

Lilium and PhilJets plan to jointly develop routes and determine passenger demand for an on-demand eVTOL service in the region. That deal included the sale of 10 Lilium jets to PhilJets.

This is not the first announcement relating to EAV services starting in the Philippines.

LuftCar, the developer of a hydrogen-powered eVTOL, also is expanding into the Philippines via a recent partnership.

LuftCar and eFrancisco Motor Corporation (eFMC) agreed to develop and deploy the LuftCar flying car system in the Philippines.

The LuftCar hydrogen-powered air vehicle would connect to and lift road vehicles created by eFMC, a major jeepney manufacturer.

In the Lilium-PhilJets partnership, the plan is to bring high-speed regional air mobility to Southeast Asia.

The Lilium eVTOL craft is a jet, unlike most EAVs.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Buying 120 Chargers; Liquid-Cooled Cables

The seven-seater vehicles are planned as a regional air mobility service, connecting cities and towns up to 125 miles apart at speeds of up to 185 mph.

The flying vehicle features forward canards (small wings near the front) along with main wings and a distributed propulsion system with fixed landing gear without hydraulics.

During takeoff, the plane would use its 36 electric ducted fans to hover for up to 25 seconds and 20 seconds during the landing phase, according to the company. Most of the flight time would be in the cruise stage with a relatively short takeoff and landing time.

The company estimates the range of the craft at 150 miles.

Lilium has teamed with the Lufthansa Group to explore opportunities in aviation including ground and flight operations, EAV maintenance and flight training in Europe.

Founded in 2015, Lilium has manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany, with teams in the U.S. and Europe with the European market expected to account for more than 9,000 vehicles through 2035.

The fuselage for the Lilium jet was developed by Aciturri in Spain, with delivery to Lilium facilities in Germany. Aciturri, also a Lilium investor, has designed and manufactured airframe components for Airbus, Boeing and Embraer.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Partners for Service in Philippines; Electric Jets

Lilium recently secured $192 million in financing in addition to a coming public offering. It received funding from different investors including board members and initial backer Tencent Holdings.

The company is not alone in the race for new air transportation services, including flying cars, personal air vehicles, ultralights, which do not require a pilot license, and certified vehicles, which require a license.

One eVTOL company, Joby Aviation, is building of a facility in Dayton, Ohio, to deliver up to 500 eVTOL vehicles a year. Joby has partnerships with Uber and Delta Air Lines. 

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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