Indonesia’s Prestige Aviation has agreed to buy 100 of EHang’s EH216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicles to support plans to provide passenger flights. The preorder was signed with the Chinese eVTOL aircraft developer during the Indonesia International Motor Show on April 9.
According to EHang the list price for each aircraft is RMB 2.16 million ($340,000) and the company says this is its largest preorder to date. It builds on an earlier preorder for one EH216 placed last year when Prestige Aviation jointly staged a public flight demonstration with EHang to show the potential for sightseeing flights in Bali.
EHang’s first Indonesian customer is part of the Prestige Corp. group, which is active in automobile sales, real estate, restaurants, and information technology. The company says that Prestige Aviation also conducts aircraft transactions, including ones involving private jet leases.
According to Prestige Aviation executive chairman Rudy Salim, the company expects the two-seat EH216s to be deployed for commercial services across Indonesia’s new capital city, Nusantara, for which construction is due to start later this year. With an expected area of 990 square miles, this metropolitan area is due to replace the current capital, Jakarta, in 2024. Under its so-called Smart City initiative, Nusantara’s planners are looking to include new reduced-carbon public transportation services.
Longer-term plans could see wider adoption of eVTOL aircraft across the Southeast Asian country. “Indonesia is an archipelagic country with more than 17,000 islands within its borders,” Salim explained. “Therefore, a new transportation mode that can facilitate inter-island mobility will undoubtedly help regional economies to grow exponentially assisted by its low cost when compared to other conventional land routes.”
EHang says it will provide training for customers including Prestige in how to manage the planned autonomous operations. It also intends to work with customers to secure local type certification for its aircraft in countries like Indonesia.
The signing ceremony for the preorder was attended by Bambang Soesatyo, chairman of Indonesia’s People’s Consultative Assembly. He indicated that Indonesian legislators and regulators will be supportive of efforts to develop urban air mobility (UAM) services.
“Next, we hope to explore more possibilities to facilitate the implementation of UAM in Indonesia and seek breakthroughs in infrastructure, airworthiness certification, and other related fields,” Soesatyo commented while welcoming the agreement between Prestige and EHang.
On March 29, EHang’s management team told investors that the company expects to receive Chinese type certification for its autonomous EH216 eVTOL aircraft around the middle of 2022 and to become the first advanced air mobility company in the world to launch revenue-generating flights. It has not yet said when it intends to seek type certification and operational approvals in Indonesia.
This story was updated on April 18 with further information about the price of the EH216, and plans for local type certification and operational training.