Leasing group Falko Regional Aircraft is considering the addition of 200 of Eve Urban Air Mobility’s four-passenger eVTOL aircraft to its portfolio. Under the terms of a letter of intent signed on January 11, the companies said the agreement “contemplates a potential order” for the all-electric aircraft that are expected to enter service in 2026; it also launched a partnership to develop a network of commercial eVTOL operators.
UK-based Falko is one of several strategic backers supporting Embraer’s plans to float shares in Eve on the New York Stock Exchange after combining the subsidiary with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Zanite Acquisition. Under plans announced on December 21, Embraer is contributing $175 million to a $305 million public investment in private equity, with $25 million coming from Zanite (backed by business aviation entrepreneur Kenn Ricci) and $105 million split between Falko, Azorra Aviation, BAE Systems, Bradesco BBI, Republic Airways, SkyWest, and Rolls-Royce.
Falko, which is already a customer for Embraer’s regional jetliners, is to set up a working group with Eve to help some of its current airline leasing customers to develop route networks for the eVTOL aircraft, which will have a range of around 60 miles. Prospective eVTOL lessees will also have access to the air traffic management software Eve is developing, as well as product and operational support infrastructure backed by Embraer’s global customer support network.
In March 2021, Falko announced it had made an undisclosed investment in UK start-up Electric Aviation Group, which is developing a 70-passenger hybrid-electric regional airliner. According to the company, the aircraft will have a range of around 1,380 miles and could be ready to enter service in 2028.
In November, Falko added five of Embraer’s E195-E2 airliners to its portfolio through a sale and leaseback deal with Canada-based Porter Airlines. Its portfolio now includes 59 Embraer aircraft, as well as some Bombardier CRJ regional jets and ATR twin turboprops.
“I am thrilled to announce this huge development in our long-standing and successful relationship with Embraer,” said Falko CEO Jeremy Barnes. “We are very excited by our strategic partnership with Eve, which forms part of our drive to be at the forefront of the greening of the aviation sector. We firmly believe in the prospects of the eVTOL market and that Eve, with the support of Embraer’s experience in the manufacturing, certification, and support of aircraft will be a market leader.”
Eve’s merger with Zanite and subsequent public equity listing is due to be complete by the end of the second quarter of this year. The deal is the latest in a flurry of SPAC-backed flotations in the eVTOL sector, with equity prices for four listings opening on Wall Street today below the initial $10 offer, including Joby Aviation ($5.94), Archer Aviation ($4.20), Lilium ($6.40), and Vertical Aerospace ($9.66).