(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG formed an operational alliance with flying taxi maker Lilium NV, deepening its ties to the German startup as airlines explore ways to add services with coming electric-powered craft.
The memorandum of understanding covers flight operations, aircraft maintenance and crewing for Lilium’s six-passenger craft, which unlike rotor-driven designs is carried aloft by battery powered jets. The companies will also work on airspace integration and vertiport infrastructure, and collaborate with airports in Europe, Lufthansa said Thursday in a statement.
The tentative deal follows a 2020 agreement for Lufthansa to help train and qualify pilots to fly the Lilium Jet. Under the new partnership, Lilium will explore offering flights to Lufthansa customers, according to Klaus Roewe, the startup’s chief executive officer.
Lilium on Wednesday announced it had kicked off production of the Lilium Jet in Wessling, Germany.
Like other major airlines, Lufthansa is forming early links with makers of electric vertical takeoff and landing craft, or eVTOLs. The German carrier separately has a deal to work with Lilium rival Volocopter GmbH on software for urban air mobility.
Delta Air Lines said last year it was investing $60 million in US-based Joby Aviation to use the electric jet maker’s planes to fly customers to and from airports in New York and Los Angeles. Volocopter similarly reached a 2020 agreement with Japan Airlines, while more recently, private heliport operator Air Chateau International agreed to purchase up to 100 of Archer Aviation’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft.
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