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Flying Taxi Startup Lilium Close to Saudia Order for 100 Jets

A Lilium NV electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft after a test flight on the runway at the ATLAS (Air Traffic Laboratory for Advanced unmanned Systems) Flight Center, near Villacarillo, Spain, on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. Lilium NV, the German maker of electric commuter aircraft, is seeking to raise close to $200 million to solidify its finances as the company advances test flights of its vertical take-off and landing model ahead of commercial operations slated for late 2025. (Paul Hanna/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Lilium NV is close to selling 100 electric flying taxis to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned airline, formalizing a framework deal arranged in late 2022.

The startup is likely to announce the Saudia order at an event at its headquarters near Munich later this month, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to comment ahead of the announcement.

A Lilium spokeswoman declined to comment on the potential order, which was first reported by Reuters. Saudia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside of normal business hours.

Flying taxi firms including Lilium and rival Volocopter GmbH are entering a crucial phase as they seek additional funding to keep them in the race toward certification. Lilium’s aircraft, which features small ducted fans and two pairs of wings, is targeted to begin flying in 2026.

Shares of Lilium rose 2.7% in New York trading as of 12:11 p.m. The company has a market value of $550 million.

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