Lilium has announced plans for a strategic alliance with Azul S.A. that could see the Brazilian airline purchase 220 eVTOL Lilium Jets for up to $1 billion.
The German air taxi developer announced the deal in advance of its Capital Markets Day on Aug. 2, when Lilium plans to bolster its case for a combination with the special purpose acquisition company Qell Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: QELL).
Under Lilium’s agreement with Azul, the companies plan to work together to establish an eVTOL transportation network in Brazil starting in 2025, under which Azul would operate and maintain the Lilium Jet fleet, with Lilium supplying an aircraft health monitoring platform, replacement batteries, and other spare parts. Azul also expects to support Lilium in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals in the country. Lilium has already announced plans to launch passenger service with its seven-seat eVTOL Lilium Jets in the U.S. and Europe.
In a press release, Azul CEO John Rodgerson stated: “Azul is the largest domestic airline in Brazil in terms of cities served and daily departures. Our brand presence, our unique route network, and our powerful loyalty program give us the tools to create the markets and demand for the Lilium Jet network in Brazil.”
“Azul has brought convenient and affordable air travel to underserved markets across the Americas and this makes them an ideal partner for Lilium,” added Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. “We’re excited to work with Azul’s seasoned team to deploy a co-branded eVTOL network in Brazil.”
The strategic alliance and aircraft order are contingent upon Lilium and Azul finalizing commercial terms and definitive documentation, the companies said.
Lilium also revealed plans to add Tesla veteran Gabrielle Toledano and aviation executive Henri Courpron to its board of directors following the completion of its combination with Qell.
Toledano is currently chief operating officer at Keystone Strategy LLC. She brings over 30 years of leadership experience in technology, gaming, and digital transformation within Fortune 500 companies including Tesla, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Courpron is chairman of the aviation and aerospace advisory firm Plane View Partners LLC, and was previously CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation. He spent 20 years at Airbus in a number of management positions, including president and CEO of Airbus North America. He is also a former director of Azul Airlines and TAP Portugal, and a current director of Breeze Airways.
Lilium previously announced that former Airbus CEO Tom Enders will become chairman of its board once the merger with Qell is complete.