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Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet manufacturer Lilium on Tuesday unveiled plans to introduce its flagship Lilium Jet in the South of France.

The German manufacturer announced it will build a vertiport network for the zero-emissions aircraft in the French Riviera, connecting Monaco, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Golfe de Saint-Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and Sophia Antipolis. It aims to launch flights in 2026.

Lilium signed a partnership with Italian vertiport network operator and Airbus partner UrbanV as well as Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA), which manages Cannes Mandelieu Airport (LMFD), Golfe de Saint-Tropez Airport (LFTZ), and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (LMFN): the country’s second-largest airport, transporting an estimated 14 million passengers annually. UrbanV is a subsidiary of Aeroporti di Roma, SAVE Group, Aeroporto di Bologna, and ACA, which has committed to achieve carbon neutrality without offsetting its own emissions by 2030.

Lilium’s French Riviera ecosystem will include vertiports at these locations and others under consideration. It is in discussions with local partners to construct additional takeoff and landing sites in Sophia Antipolis, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille, with the expectation that those agreements will be finalized by year’s end.

“Our territory offers a unique opportunity to fly over the sea to directly connect the main economic, cultural or tourist destinations,” said Franck Goldnadel, chairman of the board of ACA. “A complementary alternative to the helicopter, the eVTOL has its place in the air transport offered from Nice Côte d’Azur.”

Lilium’s flagship jet, combined with electric ground infrastructure from UrbanV, should help remove some emissions from France’s premium and business aviation segments.

Unveiled to the public for the first time last week at the European Aviation Business Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, the aircraft is designed to cruise at 162 knots on city-to-city trips spanning 25-125 sm (22-109 nm). Thirty-six electric ducted fans embedded in the aircraft’s fixed wings provide vertical propulsion and are shielded by flaps during forward flight.

Lilium on Tuesday said it is in talks with several operators interested in purchasing and operating the Lilium Jet in the French Riviera, which accommodates millions of tourists every year. Already, it has an agreement with Austrian private jet operator GlobeAir for the intended purchase and operation of 12 aircraft in the South of France and Italy.

“As a truly European company based in Munich, Germany, with flight testing in Spain and with nascent roots in France, Lilium is extremely proud to be able to assist in the creation of the first regional eVTOL network in the South of France and the first commercially viable network in the E.U.,” said Sebastien Borel, chief commercial officer of Lilium. “We see an enormous potential in this region and cannot wait to see our Lilium Jet fly there soon.”

The multifaceted partnership comes after Lilium entered “advanced” talks with the French government to add a high-volume aircraft production facility in the country. The company is considering several locations and expects to invest up to 400 million euros (about $432 million) into the site over several years. In addition, it already sources aircraft components from French suppliers Saint-Gobain Aerospace, Michelin, and Expliseat.

Lilium in December began building the first of seven production prototype Lilium Jets at its final assembly line in Wessling, Germany. Both it and the French facility are intended to supply fleets globally.

In the U.S., the manufacturer is working alongside newly formed operator UrbanLink Air Mobility, Orlando International Airport (KMCO), and other stakeholders to build an initial eVTOL network in South Florida. It is collaborating with FBO network Atlantic Aviation to electrify more than 100 Atlantic terminals nationwide.

Lilium also hopes to introduce its flagship aircraft in China, the Philippines, the Middle East, South America, and across Europe, the latter in partnership with Lufthansa.

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The post Lilium Eyes eVTOL Jet Flights in French Riviera by 2026 appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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