Spirit AeroSystems will be developing the fixed-wings for the CityAirbus NextGen, the eVTOL aircraft that Airbus hopes to begin certifying in 2025 for urban air mobility (UAM) operations.
The aerospace company announced the partnership with Spirit AeroSystems during HAI Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas, this week. The aircraft components manufacturer plans to develop CityAirbus NextGen’s wings in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“The partnership with Spirit AeroSystems is an important step for the development of CityAirbus NextGen, and its wings are key structural components for flight efficiency,” said Joerg Mueller, head of UAM at Airbus, in a press release.
The company said the aircraft’s fixed-wings will be designed to “transmit the related aerodynamic loads while being optimized for the right balance between hover and cruise efficiency.”
This latest announcement builds on Spirit AeroSystems’ longstanding relationship with Airbus — Spirit AeroSystems has also provided fully integrated wings and wing elements for other Airbus commercial aircraft in the past.
The CityAirbus NextGen is equipped with a V-shaped tail and eight electrically-powered propellers as part of its distributed propulsion system. The four-seat eVTOL is targeting an operational range of 80 kilometers (50 miles) and cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
Airbus also announced this week that it would be expanding its partnership with Saudi Arabian operator The Helicopter Company (THC) to create a UAM ecosystem and introduce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the Kingdom.
The companies envision using SAF to decarbonize Airbus’ products in THC’s fleet, which already includes 10 H125s. THC recently added 20 H145s and six ACH160s, with options for a further 10 H145s and four ACH160s. In Saudi Arabia, the companies said the aircraft could be used for emergency medical services, tourism, or private and business travel.
“This is a significant move toward the introduction and efficient operations of cleaner helicopters and advanced technologies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Arnaud Martinez, CEO of THC. “We are pleased to be a part of this unique opportunity to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the urban transportation market together with Airbus.”