FLYING Magazine

UrbanLink Air Mobility, a U.S. operator of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that in May committed to purchase 20 eVTOL jets from German manufacturer Lilium, is expanding into the Caribbean.

The company on Tuesday announced a partnership with California-based vertiport developer and operator Skyway Technologies to install eVTOL hubs in South Florida and Puerto Rico. The partners plan to release more information on locations and routes in those markets in the coming months, with plans to launch service in 2026.

“Our partnership with UrbanLink is advancing the industry towards launching operations in the United States,” said Clifford Cruz, CEO of Skyway.

Similar to a heliport, a vertiport allows an eVTOL aircraft to take off and land vertically, with additional infrastructure for electric charging. In addition to design and operation, Skyway provides vertiport services such as air traffic management and mission planning.

The partnership is UrbanLink’s second in as many months following an agreement with Texas-based Ferrovial Vertiports to build a network of hubs in South Florida and the Los Angeles metro area.

Both collaborations are intended to set the stage for Lilium Jet operations across networks linking the takeoff and landing locations. The sites are also meant to serve “the broader [advanced air mobility (AAM)] industry,” UrbanLink says.

“In order to finance and build the vertiports needed to support the AAM industry, it is crucial to have multiple partners,” said Ed Wegel, who founded UrbanLink earlier this year and serves as chairman. “We are impressed with Skyway’s understanding of our business and their commitment to delivering well-designed, safe, and efficient vertiports in the U.S. and Caribbean.”

The operator is eyeing a 2026 U.S. commercial launch, which is in line with Lilium’s projections for when its flagship Lilium Jet will be ready for service.

The manufacturer is so far the only company to receive certification bases from both the FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for a commercial eVTOL design. It intends to fly on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in the Middle East.

The Lilium Jet is expected to cruise at 162 knots on city-to-city trips spanning 25 to 125 sm (22 to 109 nm). It uses a propulsion system seldom seen on eVTOL designs, with a pair of electric motors feeding 10 independent battery packs that power 36 electric ducted fans embedded in the aircraft’s fixed wings. These allow it to hover and take off vertically like a helicopter, with minimal noise production or impact on cruise performance, Lilium says.

By contrast, manufacturers such as Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation employ tilting rotors and propellers that aid in both vertical and forward flight.

The unique propulsion system underwent initial testing in June ahead of the Lilium Jet’s first crewed flight, expected later this year. The manufacturer began building its first production prototype aircraft, which will be used to validate the design with regulators, in December.

Since partnering in May, Lilium and UrbanLink have moved quickly to target eVTOL jet operations in South Florida—which is poised to be Lilium’s U.S. base of operations—Los Angeles, Southern California, and Puerto Rico. Announcements for additional locations are on the horizon, they said Tuesday.

Like this story? We think you’ll also like the Future of FLYING newsletter sent every Thursday afternoon. Sign up now.

The post Lilium Partner UrbanLink Targets eVTOL Jet Service in Caribbean appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

Read More