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Lilium Announces eVTOL Operations in Southeast Asia, Expanded Charging Infrastructure at Singapore Airshow

Lilium Announces eVTOL Operations in Southeast Asia, Expanded Charging Infrastructure at Singapore Airshow

BY GEORGE MWANGI Published on February 22, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Lilium is making significant progress in developing the Lilium Jet, its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Earlier this month, the German aerospace company announced the designation of Orlando International Airport (MCO) as a center of its U.S. operations. Lilum expanded on its momentum by making two major deals at the Singapore Airshow on February 20. Decarbonizing aviation through sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and advanced air mobility (AAM), which includes eVTOLs, was a major focus of this year's event. 


Rendering of a Lilium Jet flying over Manila | Photo: Lilium


eVTOL Operations in Southeast Asia


Lilium reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PhilJets, an aviation services provider based in Manila, to further develop Southeast Asia's AAM industry. The agreement involves the purchase of ten Lilium Jets and the establishment of an eVTOL network across the region. Both entities will jointly develop services that will accommodate the high demand for travel between major Southeast Asian cities. An example of a route that could become operational is Hanoi (HAN) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in Vietnam, which was the world's fourth busiest passenger route in 2022. 


The Lilium Jet | Photo: Lilium


Lilium and PhilJets will collaborate to identify possible locations and partners for landing infrastructure, including where vertiports can be established. PhilJets also views this partnership as essential for expanding eVTOL operations in its home country: the Philippines. The nation has over 7,500 islands that would benefit from AAM, especially since the Lilium Jet is designed for regional air mobility instead of flights within urban areas. The Lilium Jet's range of 250 kilometers (155 miles) means isolated communities can more easily be connected to the larger islands.




PhilJet's fleet currently comprises 15 private jets and helicopters for commercial and private flights. Its deal with Lilium is part of plans for further expansion over the next three years. PhilJet maintains its aircraft through a maintenance services affiliate entity that can support over 100 helicopters. The Lilium Jet's advanced technology and PhilJets' large regional presence will help Southeast Asia start to decarbonize its aviation sector.


The Lilium Jet conducting a test flight | Photo: Lilium


Various stakeholders, such as Boeing, are currently working on developing the SAF industry across the region. Several Southeast Asian carriers, including Singapore Airlines and Cebu Pacific, are working on incorporating SAF into flights by combining it with traditional fuel. Furthermore, countries like Cambodia are developing new airports designed with sustainability in mind. The Lilium Jet will add to this progress since it offers reduced noise pollution and zero operating emissions. 


Inside the Lilium Jet | Photo: Lilium


Thierry Tea, Chairman of PhilJets, said about the agreement:


"Our team is proud to collaborate with Lilium on the mission to transform the Philippine's mobility with eVTOLs. With its growing economy, geography, and important tourism industry, the Philippines is a great match to the Lilium Jet's capabilities. Innovation in aviation is gaining traction among regulators, urban planners, and industry leaders of worldwide economies. Providing efficient connectivity to customers while reducing carbon emissions is a major focus for air transport operators such as PhilJets. We are also looking forward to bringing this technology into Cambodia and other countries in the region." 




Expanded Charging Infrastructure


Lilium also partnered with Star Charge, a Chinese company providing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Lilium ordered 120 chargers for flights, maintenance, and deliveries involving its aircraft. The deal will also offer charging stations to customers who invest in vertiports.


The Lilium Jet's cockpit | Photo: Lilium


The Lilium Jet can be charged rapidly using the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard. Starr Charge's system is compatible with any eVTOL that uses CCS. The company's liquid-cooled chargers are long cables that charge quickly on varied landing infrastructure. Lilium will benefit from the partnership since reduced charging times mean less unnecessary time between flights. These benefits translate to the more productive use of the Lilium Jet.


Ji Cheng, the CEO of Star Charge's European operations, said about the partnership:


“We are grateful to have received the first order of CCS chargers by a leading eVTOL manufacturer and look forward to commencing deliveries this year. We look forward to partnering with Lilium to power the next generation of mobility, offering greater time-saving benefits to passengers while considerably reducing the environmental impact of travel.”


The Lilium Jet at a vertiport | Photo: Lilium


Lilium's Future Plans


Lilium's newly established partnerships with PhilJet and Star Charge highlight the company's commitment to the global AAM industry. Both companies' large presence in Southeast Asia will help Lilium expand its eVTOL service across the region. Although PhilJets' largest operations are in the Philippines, the company plans to expand in Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries. Star Charge has established a presence in over 60 countries, with its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore. The Singapore Airshow helped facilitate the further development of AAM across the region. 



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George Mwangi
Aviation writer based in Washington, DC. Visited 21 countries on thousands of miles of flights.

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