International helicopter and fixed-wing lessor LCI has signed an agreement with Vermont-based Beta Technologies to acquire up to 125 of its Alia electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The deal has the potential to nearly double LCI’s fleet of 140 airplanes and helicopters. The Ireland-based company’s customers have included British Airways, Air France, and Singapore Airlines.
“As a leading aircraft lessor with an established global track record, LCI has a strong pulse on what operators are looking for,” said a statement released Wednesday by Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark. LCI and its parent company Libra Group own and operate aircraft in more than 50 countries.The deal adds to Beta Technologies existing agreements with Blade Urban Air Mobility (NASDAQ: BLDE) and UPS (NYSE: UPS). Also, the U.S. Air Force has partnered with Beta as part of its Agility Prime technology accelerator program. Last week, Beta announced it had raised $375 million in Series B funding.
About the Aircraft
With two Alia demonstrators currently undergoing flight testing, Beta has said it expects FAA type certification for Alia by 2024. Beta intends to develop a cargo variant first, to be followed by a passenger model.
The battery-powered, zero-emission aircraft is designed to carry 1,400 pounds of payload—or five passengers and a pilot. The design also includes a single push propeller and four proprotors for vertical lift. Other specifications include a range of 250 nm, speed of 150 kts and a recharging time of under an hour. Mindful of the need for ground infrastructure to support the emerging eVTOL industry, Beta is also developing a nationwide network of charging stations for electric aircraft and ground vehicles.