LONDON – National flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) and Lilium N.V., a German based developer of the all-electric VTOL jet, have announced today that they have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the proposed development and operation by SAUDIA for an eVTOL network across the kingdom in near future.
The MoU was signed on the occasion of 6th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) held at King Abdulaziz International Conference Canter in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. SAUDIA has emphasised in the MoU that it is intending to purchase around 100 Lilium eVTOL jets that would bring the carrier to speed with ongoing electric air mobility revolution.
The Lilium Jet
With the help of new Lilium electric jets, SAUDIA can open new chapter in the state-of the art electric air travel mobility along with enhanced passenger experience, as it intends to use these Lilium electric jets to create point-to-point connections as well as seamless feeder connections to SAUDIA hubs for its upper-class passengers with zero operating emissions and sustainable, time saving travel.
The Lilium electric jets, known for their revolutionary design and plush interior which will suit the needs of premium market that SAUDIA caters for at its hub in Saudi Arabia. Lilium is determined that this advantageous specification will drive early adaption of eVTOL aircraft to scale the market further.
Like any other eVTOL, Lilium Jet generates lift by conventional propellers via electromagnetism. The Lilium Jet is powered by 36 electric motors placed symmetrically on each side of the wing. The target range for Lilium Jet is placed at 150 nm while all ducted fans are powered by 1MW lithium-ion batteries, which allows the aircraft to cruise by utilising less than 250hp power.
The Lilium Jet has various seating configuration in development with 2-seater, 5-seater unmanned and 7-seater manned carriers. With empty weight of 970lb for 5-seater, 2900lb for 5-seater and 6800lb for 7-seater carrier allowing them to gain max take-off weight at 1411lb.
SAUDIA has introduced the eVTOL league to the Middle East with holding pioneer position in the region. With abundance of landscape and weather conditions to suit the electric power adaptability, SAUDIA has expressed its support to Lilium to complete extent. The carrier has also expressed willingness to support Lilium in acquiring necessary regulatory approvals from Saudi Arabian bodies.
With a network spanning across 100 international destinations originating from Saudi Arabian Peninsula, Lilium and SAUDIA have plans to combine its market knowledge to boost Lilium’s unique eVTOL aircraft and transform Saudi Arabian air transport paradigm.
Speaking on this remarkable occasion, Chief Executive Officer of SAUDIA, Captain Ibrahim S. Koshy 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.”
“SAUDIA intends to meet a growing demand for regional air mobility and offer our valued guests a superior onboard experience. The potential for such an airborne transit network is limitless.”
Further commenting on the event, Vice Chairman of Lilium, Alexander Asseily said, “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.”
It has been outlined in the MoU that the agreement is subject to the complete feasibility assessment, along with agreement on commercial terms which will allow both the parties to enter formal agreement with respect to completing of conditions.
Following this event, the proposed agreement will make SAUDIA the first carrier in the MENA region to equip itself with 100 Lilium Jets with wide route network and transformation in its domestic air mobility and air transportation system.