Slovenian aircraft maker Pipistrel is forging ahead with production plans for the Alpha Electro electric-powered two-seater and hybrid Panthera four-seater in a deal with a Chinese entrepreneur to build airplanes in China.
Pipistrel founder Ivo Boscarol owns 51 percent of the newly formed Pipistrel Asia-Pacific joint venture, with the remaining 49 percent controlled by Chinese businessman Danny Wu Hao. The partnership will give the new company rights to sell the Alpha Electro and Panthera in 11 Asian countries, while providing Pipistrel with sorely needed capital to bring both models into full-rate production.
Pipistrel’s minority partner in the project also plans to build an airport and factory near Nanjing, China, as part of Project Jurong, a development plan that envisions villas and an aviation university built on a 130-hectare site.
It is expected that the capital infusion from the Chinese joint venture will jump start development of the hotly anticipated Panthera, a sleek new model that Pipistrel is targeting as a more price-attractive alternative to other high-performance piston singles.