Azul Linhas Aéreas became the first Brazilian carrier to invest in an eVTOL aircraft network. The company signed an agreement with German startup Lilium to invest $1 billion in the acquisition of 220 units of the Lilium Jet, a model for seven passengers.
The two companies announced the establishment of an operating network for Urban Air Mobility services in Brazil, which should start operating in 2025.
“Azul has brought convenient and affordable air travel to underserved markets across the Americas and this makes them an ideal partner for Lilium. We’re excited to work with Azul’s seasoned team to deploy a co-branded eVTOL network in Brazil,” said Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium.
“Azul is the largest domestic airline in Brazil in terms of cities served and daily departures. As we did in the Brazilian domestic market over the last 13 years, we look forward to again, now with the Lilium Jet, working to create a whole new market in the years to come.” said John Rodgerson, CEO of Azul.
The basis of the agreement, which still depends on commercial arrangements between the two groups, stipulates that Azul would operate and maintain the Lilium Jets while the German company would have the mission to monitor the conditions of the aircraft as well as supply batteries and other replacement components.
The entry into service in 2025, planned by Lilium, still depends on the aircraft certification processes and on this type of operation.
The Lilium Jet differs from other Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) models in that it is equipped with 36 mini-ducted fans that are powered by electricity.
They are distributed over the upper portion of the wings and canards According to Lilium, the eVTOL can carry six passengers plus a pilot at a speed of 175 mph and altitude of 10,000 ft.
The Lilium Jet can fly distances of up to 155 miles, plus reservation. The aircraft is undergoing certification by the FAA and EASA, and is expected to be approved in 2024.