Lilium, French Government in ‘Advanced’ Talks for eVTOL Jet Manufacturing Hub

The German manufacturer looks to expand its industrial footprint with the expansion of production capabilities into France.

Lilium Jet France

Lilium seeks to complement its final assembly line in Germany with new manufacturing capabilities in France. [Courtesy: Lilium]

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet manufacturer Lilium is looking to expand its industrial footprint outside Germany, where its core manufacturing facilities are based.

The German manufacturer says it is in “advanced discussions” with the French government to add a high-volume aircraft production facility in France, citing it as an attractive market for its flagship Lilium Jet. The company plans for the aircraft to enter service in 2026.

Lilium says it is evaluating several sites for a manufacturing hub in the country, including in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which it describes as a “hotbed” for aerospace and battery production. The company estimates it will invest up to 400 million euros (about $432 million) into the site over several years, creating as many as 850 jobs.

Discussions on site selection—as well as potential French government subsidies and loan guarantees for the project—were announced Monday at the Choose France Summit in Versailles and are expected to conclude “in the coming weeks,” per Lilium.

The manufacturer says it picked France because of the country’s “well-established aerospace industry, expertise in electric mobility, highly skilled workforce, and supportive government environment.” It added in a post on social media platform X that it is already sourcing Lilium Jet components from French aerospace suppliers Saint-Gobain Aerospace, Michelin, and Expliseat.

Lilium in December began production of the first Lilium Jet prototypes at its final assembly line in Wessling, Germany. However, the company intends for the aircraft to be operated worldwide, including in the French Riviera in partnership with private jet operator GlobeAir.

Adding a manufacturing hub in France positions those operations closer to the company’s service areas, which could simplify its supply chain, for example. However, it says its French facilities are intended to serve the global market.

Lilium on Monday said it has more than 780 binding orders and memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements from operators for its flagship aircraft, which it will debut publicly at the European Aviation Business Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva later this month.

The company’s most recent agreement includes 20 firm aircraft orders and options apiece from U.S. operator UrbanLink Air Mobility, which intends to fly the aircraft out of Lilium vertiports in South Florida.

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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