Germany’s Largest Airline Partners With Lilium for eVTOL Operations

Lufthansa signed a MoU with Lilium 9 photos
Photo: Lufthansa
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This was a match just waiting to happen – the biggest airline in Germany and one of the largest in the world is exploring AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) options together with the German maker of what it considered to be the world's first eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) jet.
Lufthansa is one of the world's top ten airlines and one of the most avid supporters of sustainable strategies. The Group has already taken important steps towards cutting its net carbon emissions by half until the end of this decade and becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Its latest additions to the fleet are 30% more fuel efficient compared to previous generations. Still, that won't be enough.

In the long run, most airlines are looking at fully electric and hydrogen-electric new-generation aircraft. Air New Zealand, for instance, launched a program called "Mission Next Gen Aircraft" last year and has recently selected its first aircraft in this program, which is the Alia all-electric CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing) made by the Vermont-based Beta Technologies.

Lufthansa isn't officially targeting eVTOLs for its renewed fleet, but it's exploring all the possibilities of AAM operations and potentially laying the ground for electric air taxi services in the near future. Its exploration partner is Lilium, another German aviation company that is already revolutionizing the industry with its unique eVTOL jet concept.

For now, the two have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), which could advance to "a possible strategic partnership." The research will cover the usual issues related to AAM operations, including dedicated infrastructure (vertiports), airspace integration, aircraft maintenance, and specific training for future eVTOL pilots and crew.

With the launch of this research project, we might see the Lilium eVTOL jet sporting the Lufthansa livery one day. Until then, the air mobility company is already building the first unit of its electric aircraft, at the Lilium facility in Wessling, Germany. The Lilium jet is on track to getting both EASA and FAA certifications, and it's expected to enter commercial service by 2026.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, is exploring several tracks to increase sustainability. Last year, it launched a partnership with Shell, which could become one of the largest SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) deals in the world. The German carrier agreed to purchase a total of 1.8 million metric tons of green jet fuel, which Shell would deliver over a period of seven years, starting next year. Earlier this year, Lufthansa also introduced Green Fares for customers who want to actively support the use of alternative fuel.

While SAF is considered the fastest and most efficient solution for low carbon emissions at the moment, electric aircraft will also gradually become widely available. Lilium predicts that by 2035, the demand for eVTOLs on the European market alone will exceed 9,000 units.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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