Chinese business aviation services group Sino Jet is planning to add eVTOL aircraft to its fleet. On Friday, the Hong Kong-based company reported that it had signed an agreement with Aerofugia to buy 100 of its AE200 tiltrotor vehicles.
Aerofugia, which is owned by automotive group Geely, has said little about how far the development work for the five- to six-seat vehicle has progressed, beyond releasing a video showing flight testing of a prototype. According to the announcement with Sino-Jet, the AE200 will have a range of up to 300 kilometers (188 miles) and a speed of 250 km/h. This performance is comparable to that anticipated for an earlier eVTOL model designated as the TF-2, which Aerofugia started working on after Geely acquired U.S. flying car developer Terrafugia in late 2020. In September 2021, Geely announced a joint venture between Aerofugia and European eVTOL developer Volocopter.
Based on information on the Aerofugia website, the deal with Sino Jet appears to have been signed back on July 26, but it was not announced outside China at the time. This announcement indicated that Sino Jet will receive the aircraft from another Geely subsidiary, Wofei Changkong, which was described as “the core eVTOL provider for Sino Dragon Aviation.” The companies have not disclosed the value of the transaction or when the AE200 aircraft will complete type certification and be ready for delivery.
In June 2023, Aerofugia reported the completion of a Series A funding round that raised 100 million yuan ($14 million) to support the development of the AE200. The investors' group was led by Huakong Fund, Yuanhe Yuandian, and Honghua Airlines.
Aerofugia is one of several Chinese companies developing eVTOL aircraft intended for air taxi services and other applications that could include freight and emergency support. EHang has reported that its two-seat fully autonomous EH216 vehicle is close to getting type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Shanghai-based AutoFlight is working to bring its four-passenger Prosperity I aircraft to market. Both of these companies, along with European manufacturer Lilium, are working with local officials in the Bao'an district of Chinese city Shenzhen to introduce eVTOL air services.
The Sino Jet group operates business jets under management contracts and also for charter through its Sino Dragon Airlines division, with a fleet that currently includes a mix of Boeing Business Jets, Airbus Corporate Jets, multiple Gulfstream models, Dassault Falcon 8Xs and 7Xs, Bombardier Global 6000s, and 6500s, as well as the Challenger 605, and the Embraer Lineage 1000. The group, which was founded in 2011 and also has a base in Beijing, also provides ground handling and aircraft maintenance, holding both Chinese and FAA Part 145 approvals.