Germany’s Lilium is the latest electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer to put down roots in the Middle East.
On Monday, Lilium announced that Dubai-based ArcosJet agreed to purchase 10 of the firm’s Pioneer Edition Jets. The deal follows Lilium’s appointment of ArcosJet as its exclusive authorized dealer for private sales in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Cyprus.
The partners are showcasing a full-scale mock-up of the Jet’s interior at the Dubai Airshow from Monday through Friday. It’s the first time the aircraft has been displayed in the Middle East.
“We are pleased to announce the details of our purchase of Lilium Pioneer Edition Jets and are confident that the aircraft will quickly find buyers and lay the foundations for the development of sustainable air transport in the Middle East,” said Mikhail Alenkin, founder and CEO of ArcosJet. “We see this as the most profitable investment in the high-tech and sustainable future of aviation, as well as in the development of regional air mobility [RAM].”
ArcosJet is Lilium’s first reseller in the Middle East and its fifth globally. The company also has agreements with eVolare in the U.K., Air-Dynamic in Switzerland and Italy, and ASL Group in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and Germany. Combined, the three dealers have committed to order 31 aircraft.
In the U.S., the firm partnered with Houston-based EMCJET, a full-service aircraft brokerage and management firm, to make the Pioneer Edition the first of its kind available for private sale in the country. A total of 50 will be built and delivered—each will cost a hefty $10 million.
With their purchase, customers will gain access to a maintenance program, pilot training, and two charging stations. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2026—ArcosJet will receive its aircraft in 2026 and 2027.
“With ArcosJet’s experience and expertise in private aircraft sales, I am confident our partnership will help customers appreciate the unique capabilities of eVTOL flight,” said Sebastien Borel, chief commercial officer at Lilium.
Lilium says the Pioneer Edition’s four-seat cabin will be the largest in its category. The model is designed to fly nonstop trips topping out at just over 100 sm (87 nm), cruising at 135 knots. The first crewed flight of a type-conforming Pioneer Edition is scheduled for the end of next year, with a certification target of late 2025.
Both it and the full-scale Lilium Jet will be powered by small, electric ducted fans embedded in fixed wings, contrasting with the tiltrotor designs of competitors such as Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation. Both configurations can produce zero operating emissions—Lilium’s sacrifices some hover efficiency in exchange for a lower noise profile. But the Jet is billed as “extremely efficient” in cruise, where it’s expected to spend around 95 percent of its mission time.
The company’s flagship, seven-seat aircraft is expected to be made available soon after Pioneer Edition deliveries begin. The larger design is built to fly a pilot and up to six passengers on RAM routes spanning about 25 to 125 sm (22 to 109 nm), cruising at around 162 knots.
Lilium contrasts its planned RAM operations with urban air mobility (UAM) air taxi services, which typically aim to connect points within a city over shorter distances. Archer, Joby, Boeing’s Wisk Aero, Embraer’s Eve Air Mobility, and German competitor Volocopter have all characterized themselves as UAM providers, despite some of them planning to produce aircraft with longer ranges.
Archer, for example, says it plans to fly back-to-back, short-hop flights spanning about 20 sm (17 nm), though its Midnight air taxi has a maximum range closer to 100 sm (87 nm) on a single charge.
The San Jose, California-based manufacturer is also building a presence in the Middle East through an agreement with the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Investment Office, with which it is expected to launch air taxi flights across the country in 2026.
Archer will build a headquarters and manufacturing facility within the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster, an urban hub in Abu Dhabi. Joby is also participating in SAVI and expects to establish a footprint in the region. However, at least initially, Lilium won’t compete with these companies in the Middle East because it’s only offering private sales.
It’s not yet clear how Lilium will certify the Pioneer Edition for operations in the Middle East. However, it’s worth noting that the firm is the only eVTOL manufacturer with certification bases from both the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and FAA.
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