Friday, February 3, 2023

Saudia plans eVTOL flight network; to buy 100 jets

Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, and Lilium, developer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet, have announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the proposed development and operation by Saudia of an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia.

The proposed arrangement will make Saudia the first airline in the MENA region to purchase 100 Lilium Jets alongside yearly support services. The announcement was made at the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.

With zero operating emissions, the Lilium Jet will enable sustainable and time-saving travel.

Saudia intends to launch a state-of-the-art service with the purchase of 100 Lilium Jets including new electric point-to-point connections as well as seamless feeder connections to Saudia’s hubs for business class guests.

Lilium Jet’s flexible cabin architecture is expected to enable a range of spacious interior configurations that are well suited to the needs of the premium market, which Lilium believes can help drive the early adoption of eVTOL aircraft required to scale, said a statement.

Saudia also expects to support Lilium with the necessary regulatory approval processes in Saudi Arabia for certification of the Lilium Jet and any other required regulatory approvals, it said.

Saudia currently serves a network of more than 100 domestic and international destinations.  Lilium and Saudia plan to combine Saudia’s market knowledge and Lilium’s unique eVTOL aircraft to transform the kingdom’s domestic air transport sector.

Captain Ibrahim S Koshy, Chief Executive Officer of Saudia, said: “Saudia, building on its commitment to be an industry leading airline committed to sustainability, consider our eVTOL network project with Lilium to be an undertaking of great significance for the Kingdom’s aviation industry and will contribute effectively to spurring sustainable tourism in Saudi using zero-emission aviation. Saudia intends to meet a growing demand for regional air mobility and offer our valued guests a superior on-board experience. The potential for such an airborne transit network is limitless.”

Alexander Asseily, Vice Chairman of Lilium, said: “We are thrilled to work with innovative partners for whom sustainability is a priority. This partnership with Saudia, our first in the Middle East, is an exciting development for Lilium. We look forward to working with Saudia to deploy an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia.”

The proposed arrangement between Saudia and Lilium is subject to the parties completing a feasibility assessment, agreeing to commercial terms, and entering into definitive agreements with respect thereto and satisfaction of certain conditions, said the statement.

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