Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier Saudia announced on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with German air taxi startup Lilium to purchase 100 jets.
With this purchase Saudia intends to launch new electric point-to-point connections as well as seamless feeder connections to Saudia’s hubs for business class guests, the airline said in a release.
Saudia also expects to support Lilium with the necessary regulatory approval processes in Saudi Arabia for certification of the Lilium jet.
With this Saudia will be the first airline in the Middle East and North Africa region to develop the all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) network in the region. The agreement will also help Lilium gain a foothold in the region.
The agreement with Lilium will contribute effectively to spurring sustainable tourism in Saudi using zero-emission aviation, said Ibrahim S Koshy, CEO of Saudia.
“Saudia intends to meet a growing demand for regional air mobility and offer guests a superior on-board experience. The potential for such an airborne transit network is limitless,” Koshy said.
While no timeline has been mentioned for the Saudia order, Lilium’s air taxi is scheduled to enter service in 2025, with production beginning as early as next year.
With orders worth approximately $2 billion, Lilium has already signed deals with Brazilian airline Azul, private jet company NetJets, as well as private jet company Globeair.