8 March 2022
Private jet operator NetJets is to buy 150 electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Lilium Jet.
Netjets specialises in fractional ownership of private jets, as well as offering charter flights. It’s a similar business model to Luxaviation which has also signed a deal for Lilium aircraft.
Included in the Memorandum of Understanding between NetJets and Lilium is training company FlightSafety International, which will develop crew training for the eVTOL.
The NetJets deal will centre around a transport hub based in Florida already being planned by Lilium. The Lilium Jet’s cabin will be configured to have four to six seats, to cover both the luxury market and a shuttle service.
Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium said, “This partnership is a major step in our mission to build radically better ways of moving and to electrify regional air travel.
“We believe that the private and business professional segments will be highly attractive markets in the future and, likewise, early adopters of the eVTOL revolution.
“We couldn’t be happier to collaborate with NetJets and FlightSafety to electrify this market and hope to forge a long-term strategic partnership to bring high speed regional electric air mobility to the world.”
Not everyone in the booming eVTOL industry is wowed by the Lilium Jet.
Mark Moore, Chief Executive Officer at Whisper Aero, observed on LinkedIn, “I have to wonder if Lilium is being straightforward with their disclosures. All of us in the eVTOL community have wondered how they would possibly succeed in having a reasonable payload fraction at their extremely high disc loading.
“Instead of disclosing this issue, it appears that they have instead found a way to drop 1/3 of their payload weight through a ‘luxury cabin’. And by decreasing propulsors to 30 they are embracing fewer larger diameter propulsors which decreases their disc loading.
“Why not be open and admit this? Maybe because they are twice the gross weight of a Cessna 206 but have significantly less payload and range, at 6x the cost. Look at the bloated fuselage with so much aisle and wasted space and tell me how it can possibly achieve efficient high speed cruise.
“They have pivoted from serving the public, to instead be a Netjet product for the rich. This is a huge pivot, and certainly not what I intended when I created the term eVTOL back in 2009. The industry must do better and have costs that can serve the public good.”