Lilium N.V., the German eVTOL developer, said it entered an agreement with Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, under which the airline will purchase 100 Lilium Jet aircraft as part of a plan to build an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia.
Lilium said its zero-emission aircraft will provide “sustainable and time-saving travel” whether used for point-to-point trips or making connections to Saudia’s hubs for business-class passengers.
The company said the Lilium Jet’s cabin can be configured in a number of ways to suit “the needs of the premium market.” By focusing on the high end, the company said, it aims to establish a foothold for eVTOLs in the transportation market among well-heeled early adopters.
Saudia said it plans to help Lilium obtain all the necessary regulatory approvals, including those needed for certification of its aircraft in Saudi Arabia. The airline currently operates within a network of more than 100 domestic and international destinations and has deep market knowledge that Lilium said will complement its aircraft technology.
“We are thrilled to work with innovative partners for whom sustainability is a priority. This partnership with Saudia, our first in the Middle East, is an exciting development for Lilium. We look forward to working with Saudia to deploy an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia,” said Alexander Asseily, vice chairman of Lilium.
Lilium did not respond to requests for comment regarding international criticism of Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights abuses.
Capt. Ibrahim S. Koshy, Saudia CEO, said, “Saudia, building on its commitment to be an industry-leading airline committed to sustainability, consider our eVTOL network project with Lilium to be an undertaking of great significance for the Kingdom’s aviation industry and will contribute effectively to spurring sustainable tourism in Saudi using zero-emission aviation.”
The proposed deal is subject to a feasibility assessment and additional agreements and conditions.