The electric aerial taxi start-up Lilium says it is negotiating with the Brazilian airline Azul to sell 220 electric aircraft with a total value of one billion US dollars. It would be the company’s first order from Brazil.
According to the German company, Azul would operate and maintain the fleet, Lilium would deliver the aircraft and then provide spare parts and materials – if a supply agreement is reached. Deliveries are not expected to start before 2025. “The strategic alliance and aircraft order with Azul remain subject to the parties finalizing commercial terms and definitive documentation relating thereto,” Lilium writes.
The announcement talks about a “co-branded network”. It said it wanted to combine “Lilium’s unique eVTOL platform” with Azul’s “deep knowledge of the Brazilian market”. Brazil accounts for 100 million passengers on domestic flights per year, the company states. The air taxi network in Brazil is expected to “lead to significant incremental revenue”, in addition to the already announced networks in the US and Europe.
Lilium wants to go public on the US stock market via a merger with shell company Qell Acquisition. The deal is expected to close in a few weeks. The IPO is intended to give the company easier access to the capital market but could be the company’s salvation, according to a report.
In July, the company amended its balance sheet for 2019 and added a risk note on its continued existence. In it, Lilium points out that without the upcoming US IPO or alternative financing, it will run out of money in December 2022.
The potential large order from Brazil shortly before the merger is completed is possibly intended to boost investor confidence. There are also two personnel changes shortly before the expected IPO. Gabrielle Toledano, chief operating officer at Keystone Strategy, and Henri Courpron, founder and chairman of Plane View Partners and former CEO of ILFC and Airbus North America, will join the board.
Toledano brings “over 30 years of leadership experience in technology, gaming and digital transformation in Fortune 500 companies”; she has worked for Tesla, Microsoft and Oracle, among others. With Courpron, Lilium also claims over 30 years of industry experience, but in the aviation industry. There is also a connection to the Azul deal: Courpron was formerly a director at the Brazilian airline.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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