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Flying 40-Seater Skybus Deal Signed; 10 Ordered for India in $420M Deal

The range of the Skybus is 620 miles with a top speed of 190 mph with a tandem tilt-wing design

Chuck Martin

November 26, 2023

4 Min Read
Lyte Aviation in the air.
Lyte Aviation

Vman Aero Services has signed a pre-order for the 40-seater eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle from Lyte Aviation.

The 10 planned vehicles would be used in India in a deal value reported up to $420 million.

Lyte Aviation developed the 40-seater electric aerial vehicle (EAV) for urban and regional travel. The passenger version is called the Skybus.

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“We see the value of eVTOLs in India, but so far, the two- to four- seater eVTOLs were not really filling the market demand that we are focused on,” said Vishok Mansingh, CEO of Vman. “When we were introduced to the 40-seater eVTOL by Lyte Aviation, we immediately connected the pain points of our region with the benefits that their Skybus offer. We want to make sure that we are the front runners of mass transit disruption in India, as it is inevitably coming,” 

The range of the Skybus is 620 miles with a top speed of 190 mph with a tandem tilt-wing design.

A full-scale prototype is being planned within 24 months, and serial production within five to six years.

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The Skybus would have two separate propulsion systems, one electric and powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the other turbine powered by jet fuel.

“When we started working on our use cases, we knew that India is one of our main target markets,” said Freshta Farzam, founder and CEO of Lyte Aviation. “If you consider the ever-growing congested roads, due to ever-growing population, ever-growing demand for passenger mobility and goods, especially in the mega cities, it is a great place to offer point-to-point movement of passengers in masses. 

Related:Flying Taxi Deal Signed; $500M for 100 Flying Vehicles for UAE

“Furthermore, the LA-44 would be honed for operation in other rugged operational conditions and in the absence of ground infrastructure also in remote areas. Its unique design will enable us to tap mass transport capabilities, displacing air transport and land transport modalities such as buses, trains, ferries, trucks and regional airlines like it has never been done before.”

Sale orders for EAVs for commercial transportation are starting around the globe.

Archer Aviation and Air Chateau International recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the private aviation operator to purchase the EAV to be operated in the United Arab Emirates.

That deal is valued at $500 million for 100 of the Archer Midnight craft.

The Air Chateau operations provide last-mile services between airports and cities for high-net-worth individuals.

Archer recently announced plans to start air taxi operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2026. 

Related:Air Taxi Service Planned Across India; All Electric

In a separate recent deal, Archer and InterGlobe Enterprises signed an agreement to operate a service across India.

The air taxi service would launch in 2026 and the partnership calls for the purchase of up to 200 of the Archer Midnight aircraft, according to the companies.

The companies also plan to explore additional use cases for the EAVs including cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services and charter services.

The Archer Midnight vehicle is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers with the intent of making rapid back-and-forth flights, with short battery charging times in between.

Archer’s stated goal is to replace car trips of up to 90 minutes with electric air taxi flights of up to 20 minutes.

The plan is to fly passengers on the 17-mile trip from Connaught Place to Gurugram, typically taking up to 90 minutes by car, in about seven minutes.

In the U.S., Archer plans to begin official testing of Midnight, working to meet requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Archer recently signed agreements to build a high-volume manufacturing facility for its EAVs.  

Archer recently received the first $1 million as part of a $142 million deal with the U.S. Air Force, which is working with Archer to assess the eVTOL vehicle market and technologies for Department of Defense purposes.

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, a New York Times Business Bestselling author, futurist and columnist, 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 is titled "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis). He also is the author of "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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