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Flying Taxi Company Teams With Lufthansa

The companies plan to consider collaboration with third parties such as airports and regional partners

Chuck Martin

December 11, 2023

5 Min Read
A look inside Lilium's production facility.
Lilium

The developer of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet is teaming with the Lufthansa Group to explore electric aerial vehicle (EAV) opportunities in Europe.

Lilium signed a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa to identify opportunities in aviation including ground and flight operations, EAV maintenance and flight training. 

The companies plan to analyze collaboration with third parties such as airports and regional partners for vertiports, airspace integration and to define operational processes.

“Innovation is part of our DNA,” said Detlef Kayser, member of Lufthansa Group’s Executive Board, responsible for Fleet and Technology. “The Lufthansa Group aspires to be a global leader in the integration of state-of-the-art products and processes. We want to develop aviation further and drive the transformation of the industry. This Memorandum of Understanding with Lilium will make an important contribution to this. Only with innovation, courage and determination can we, as an industry, make aviation more sustainable and master the challenges of the future.”

Lufthansa has more than 700 commercial aircraft and is pursuing a fleet strategy aimed at cost-efficiency and reduced emissions, with the goal of cutting net carbon emissions in half by 2030.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Starts Jet Production

Lilium recently started production of its Lilium Jet with the European market expected to account for the demand of more than 9,000 eVTOL vehicles through 2035.

“We are delighted that the Lufthansa Group has decided to cooperate with us to jointly advance in the future of flying,” said Klaus Roewe, CEO of Lilium. “The Lufthansa Group has been at the forefront of some of Europe’s most important aviation initiatives, especially in the area of environmental sustainability. We are thrilled to explore opportunities on bringing eVTOL flights to Lufthansa Group customers.”

Following the arrival of its first jet fuselage, Lilium started ramping up production, shifting from the design to the production phase.

In this next phase, the fuselage gets matched with the aircraft’s canards and main wings.  

The production is at Lilium’s facilities in Wessling, Germany. 

Lilium has been growing in several areas.

Lilium and Citic Offshore Helicopter Company recently agreed for the two companies to collaborate to establish an EAV operation network in China, starting with the Greater Bay Area.

Additional future services are planned for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hainan Island and Tianjin.

Lilium also recently announced that ArcosJet DMCC plans to purchase 10 of its electric jets and become the exclusive dealer for its private jets in the Mideast.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Expands into China; Electric Jet Service Coming

Deliveries of the EAVs are expected to start in 2026 with the jets delivered to customers with a maintenance program, pilot training and two charging stations.

Lilium also has an agreement with Denso for technical assistance in optimizing production of the Lilium jet electric engine.

Denso specializes in powertrain electrification and plans to support Lilium in developing equipment and tooling for automation for high-volume production of jet engines and subsystems.

Lilium and Michelin recently partnered for the design, serial production and support of tires for the Lilium EAV.

The two companies started working together more than a year ago to develop and produce custom tires for the electric jet.

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

The company intends for its seven-seater vehicles to be used as a regional air mobility service, connecting cities and towns up to 125 miles apart at speeds of up to 185 mph.

The aircraft 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.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Sells 10 Electric Jets; Customers in Mideast

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

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.

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

Founded in 2015, Lilium has manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany, with teams in the U.S. and Europe.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently issued Lilium a certificate validation of its jet, having previously obtained airworthiness authority from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Lilium is among a small number of companies seeking certification of its EAVs for both the U.S. and Europe. 

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

One eVTOL company, Joby Aviation, recently announced the planned 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. 

Read more about:

Flying Cars

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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