The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Lilium Expands eVTOL Operations Plans in Spain, Benelux, and Scandinavia

Lilium is expanding plans to develop eVTOL jet operations throughout Europe, and it is making progress with the design of its all-electric aircraft, the company announced last week during the UK’s Farnborough International Airshow. 

The German electric eVTOL developer has signed agreements with Helity Copter Airlines, ASL Group, and AAP Aviation to build eVTOL networks in southern Spain, Benelux, and Norway, respectively. Helity, which provides private charter helicopter flights in Andalusia, has provisionally agreed to purchase at least five Lilium Jets to add to its fleet. 

ASL Group, a business jet operator in Benelux with headquarters in Belgium, has placed an initial order for six Lilium Jets and plans to cooperate with Lilium to establish a network of eVTOL landing sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. The company launched a program in 2020 known as RISE (“Responsible Initiative for Sustainable Environment”), through which it aims to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Our company is constantly seeking new ways to operate responsibly and contribute to a healthy future, both socially and ecologically. The Lilium Jet is a great opportunity to provide better value to our customers in a sustainable way,” said Philippe Bodson, owner and CEO of ASL Group. “With zero operating emissions, vertical takeoff and landing capability, and a spacious premium cabin, Lilium represents the best option on the market.”

Meanwhile, Norway-based AAP Aviation Group has agreed to buy 40 Lilium Jets and establish eVTOL landing sites in Scandinavia, with the first sites coming to Norway. AAP specializes in the management and training of cabin crew members and other aviation professionals. The company says Lilium’s all-electric jet will supplement existing regional airline routes while offering flexible, time-saving options for traveling between cities and communities.

“Due to the mix of water, terrain, and mountains, Norway is particularly well suited to regional air mobility,” said AAP’s chief executive, Espen Høiby. “With its vertical takeoff and landing capability, high speed, and regional range, the Lilium Jet can achieve hours of time savings compared with today’s transportation modes. The Lilium Jet's performance, its low noise profile, and its spacious cabin make it the ideal aircraft to develop sustainable air transport in Scandinavia.”

Lilium has yet to achieve type certification for its Lilium Jet eVTOL air taxi. The company has said it expects to begin building a production-conforming model in 2023, with the aim of receiving its initial EASA type certification in 2025. It has flown more than 100 test flights with technology demonstrator prototype aircraft since 2019.

The Lilium Jet is an unconventional eVTOL aircraft with no tail, rudder, or propellers. Rather, the jet is powered by 30 fully electric engines, mounted on flaps on the aircraft’s wing and canard, that provide vertical or horizontal thrust as the wings are tilted. The aircraft is designed to cruise at speeds of up to 170 mph (280 km/h), and it has a range of about 190 miles (300 km). Lilium has said that it could scale the Lilium Jet to accommodate up to 15 seats, whereas the current model can seat six passengers and one pilot. 

On July 21, Lilium announced that it has engaged Diehl Aviation to design and manufacture the cabin and interior components of the Lilium Jet. Based in Überlingen, Germany, Diehl is a leading supplier of aircraft cabin interiors and avionics systems, with customers such as Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer. Under the agreement, Diehl will produce the Lilium Jet’s interior walls, floors, ceilings, partitions, and luggage compartments, as well as the LED lighting system and air conditioning ducts.