Just two weeks after air taxi developer Autoflight broke a new distance flight record for electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the company inked a deal to provide Singapore air fleet management company EVFLY with over 200 of its passenger planes and cargo drones.
Shanghai-based Autoflight announced the agreement today, noting it covered a total of 205 Prosperity I passenger eVTOL air taxis and cargo drones for delivery to EVFLY. The first 10 of those latter craft will be used for freight services in the Middle East – initially the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – with that activity planned for later expansion to Asia and the Africa. No amount was given for the value of the transaction, which may be followed by additional acquisitions.
The accord comes just two weeks after AutoFlight revealed its Prosperity I air taxi had beaten Joby’s previous 240-kilometer world mark for a eVTOL flight with a 250.64 km outing – the most recent milestone in what has been a rapid and successful transition of its activities toward passenger transport.
Read more: AutoFlight’s Prosperity I air taxi sets new eVTOL distance record
Founded in 2017 by Tian Yu and backed by next-generation mobility investor Team Global, AutoFlight’s initial focus was on the kind of heavy payload cargo drones that EVFLY will begin operating first. More recently it has concentrated work on development of its Prosperity I air taxi, with that eVTOL moving faster through testing toward the certification process since the company established its European research and development unit in Germany last year.
That progress – combined with the new flight record – appeared to convince EVFLY CEO Yannick Erbs that AutoFlight’s plane and drones were a good fit in his company’s efforts to transition air transport service providers to sustainable advanced air mobility technologies.
“AutoFlight has a proven aircraft, as demonstrated by their world record flight and thousands of additional flight test miles,” Erbs said. “They are a natural choice for EVFLY, as both parties will bring expertise to the nascent eVTOL cargo and passenger markets.”
AutoFlight is already working with European regulators to coordinate certification of the Prosperity I air taxi in time to achieve the company’s objective of launching air taxi services in 2025. AutoFlight president Omer Bay-Yohay says the agreement with EVFLY is a sign its eVTOL passenger planes and cargo drones will find eager takers beyond Europe.
“This is a fantastic deal and illustrates just a few of the many geographies that will benefit from eVTOLs in both cargo and personal mobility,” Bay-Yohay said. “The team at EVFLY has a proven track record in successfully managing freight and cargo businesses and we’re delighted to be partnering with them in what could be one of the first commercial eVTOL operations in the world.”