Saudia signs up for 100 eVTOL jets

Saudia is planning to buy 100 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from German aerospace company Lilium.

Lilium Jet
The Lilium Jet will allow Saudia to play its part in the Saudi Arabian sustainable strategy. Picture:Lilium

Saudia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lilium to develop and operate an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia.

With zero operating emissions, the Lilium Jet will enable sustainable and time-saving travel, allowing the national flag-carrier to play its part in the country’s sustainable air mobility development strategy.

Saudia intends to purchase 100 Lilium Jets and launch a state-of-the-art service, including new electric point-to-point connections as well as seamless feeder connections to its hubs for business-class guests.

Lilium Jet’s flexible cabin architecture is expected to enable a range of spacious interior configurations that are well suited to the needs of the premium market. This can drive the early adoption of eVTOL aircraft required to scale.

Saudia also expects to support the German company with the necessary regulatory approval processes in Saudi Arabia for certification of the Lilium Jet, and any other required regulatory approvals. The carrier currently serves a network of more than 100 domestic and international destinations.

According to Saudia CEO, Captain Ibrahim Koshy, this shows the airline’s commitment to sustainability.

The eVTOL network project will also contribute effectively to spurring sustainable tourism in Saudi using zero-emission aviation.

“We intend to meet a growing demand for regional air mobility and offer our valued guests a superior on-board experience,” said Koshy. “The potential for such an airborne transit network is limitless.”

Meanwhile, NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in north-west Saudi Arabia, has announced a $175 million investment in Volocopter, a pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM).

“This crucial investment will expand NEOM’s strategic partnership with Volocopter to progress an advanced air mobility industry in Saudi Arabia, in line with the cutting-edge strategy for its mobility sector,” said NEOM CEO, Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

Electric air taxis are a key component of NEOM’s mission to implement a seamlessly connected multi-modal mobility system powered by 100% renewable energy.

Vincent Chappard

Vincent Chappard

Vincent is an aerospace editor and consultant based in Paris.