Private aircraft management and charter group Volare has agreed to add up to 20 of the Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft to its UK-based fleet. In an agreement announced on December 5, the UK company's new eVolare division placed firm orders for 10 of the new Lilium Pioneer Edition version of the all-electric aircraft, with options to take another 10.
Volare is the launch customer for the Pioneer Edition, with Lilium intending to build just 50 examples of the model. The “limited edition” version of the Lilium Jet will seat up to four passengers and a pilot, with a more spacious interior than the standard six-passenger model. Owners will have the option to customize the cabin with special fabrics and materials, with the price for the aircraft ranging from between $7 million and $10 million depending on the interior fittings and other specifications.
In a letter to shareholders summarising third quarter financial results, Lilium said it intends to sell all 50 Pioneer Edition aircraft by the end of 2023, collecting pre-delivery payments of 50 percent of the purchase price. This gives it the potential to raise up to $250 million in down payments by this time next year.
From its headquarters at Oxford Airport, eVolare intends to operate the Lilium Jet for charter flights throughout the greater London area. The aircraft, which will have 30 electric motors installed in its wing and canard, is expected to have a range of 155 miles. It will be able to comfortably reach destinations such London’s current sole public access heliport in Battersea, and also airports including Heathrow, London City, Gatwick, Luton, and Stansted.
Under the agreement with Lilium, eVolare will operate a service center to maintain the new eVTOL model and develop new landing sites. As Lilium’s “lead partner” in the UK, it will also handle sales of the Lilium Jet to private individuals. It has placed an undisclosed pre-delivery payment to secure delivery slots for the first 10 aircraft.
The operator was founded in 2013 and holds air operator certificates from EASA and Guernsey (which falls under the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s jurisdiction). It also holds Part 145 maintenance approvals from the UK CAA, the FAA, and EASA, as well as from air safety regulators in Nigeria, Greece, San Marino, Guernsey, and the Cayman Islands.
Volare operates a fleet of 23 aircraft, including a mix of private jets and helicopters. Most of these aircraft are managed on behalf of private owners, with some being made available for charter flights by third-party customers.
“The revolutionary technology of the Lilium Pioneer Edition Jet coupled with its unique, premium cabin, made it a natural choice for us when looking to meet the future demands of an environmentally-conscious market,” commented eVolare founder Dustin Dryden. “For all our customers, we can offer point-to-point, time-saving travels in a sustainable, safe manner while introducing some incredibly exciting innovation to the UK market.”
Germany-based Lilium aims to complete EASA type certification of the Lilium Jet in 2025. It expects the first Pioneer Edition aircraft to be delivered as part of an early production run for the aircraft, which is also expected to achieve FAA certification for the U.S. market.
Meanwhile, Lilium says it is still working on the details of a planned partnership with U.S.-based private aviation group NetJets. In March, NetJets, which offers fractional ownership of private aircraft as well as charter packages, agreed to add 150 Lilium Jets to its fleet. It has not yet specified whether these might include examples of the Pioneer Edition.
In October, Saudi Arabian Airlines agreed in principle to purchase 100 Lilium Jets, taking the manufacturer's total provisional order book to 603 aircraft. Other prospective early customers for the eVTOL model include Globe Air, Helity Copter Airlines, ASL Group, AAP Aviation, and Bristow.
In May 2021, Lilium announced a partnership agreement with business aviation group Luxaviation covering operations and flight crew training.