Advanced Air Mobility News

Airbus: No Rush to Make World’s First eVTOL

Airbus: No Rush to Make World’s First eVTOL

Balkiz Sarihan, the CEO and head of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) at Airbus, said Airbus has little interest in making its CityAirbus NextGen the first eVTOL available in the market as the company is prioritizing building a “technology gap” in the sector. 

Highlighting the airplanes and helicopters the firm builds, Sarihan said the company sits at the forefront of the latest technological advancements. She insisted that the same mindset will be applied to Airbus’ eVTOL, which is expected to enter the market in the “second half of the decade.”

“As Airbus we look at feeder markets, where it is complimentary… When we looked at our full product portfolio from helicopters to satellites to our big, beautiful planes, here, we are able to build a technology gap. And I think this is what the purpose is for us,” she said at Revolution.Aero in Dublin, Ireland. 

Dwelling further on why Airbus isn’t joining the race to be the inaugural provider of eVTOLs commercially, Sarihan said if that were the company’s aim, it would have directed its attention to aircraft such as the Vahana and CityAirbus Alpha. 

“If we were to say, ‘we’re going to be the first to fly’, then the choices that we would have made is to say ‘we take Vahana’, which was our fixed wing tilt aircraft built in San Francisco, California, or our CityAirbus Alpha, which was a full eVTOL 2.3-tonne aircraft, then we would have taken these into production,” she explained, adding that Airbus is “not in a rush at all” to get the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL ready for customers.

She added: “It is a tough choice because it would have been lovely to take one of those into production and be doing demonstrations. And that is a great degree of excitement, but I think it is perhaps a bit more of a pragmatic view.”

Despite talking highly about the Airbus Vahana and CityAirbus Alpha, Sarihan acknowledged that both aircraft have “limitations,” which is why the company is firmly behind the fully electric CityAirbus NextGen. 

Featuring eight electric-powered propellors, the CityAirbus NextGen can hold four passengers and cover distances of 80 km at a cruise speed of 120 kph. Just last month, Airbus was ready to take delivery of parts for the prototype of its eVTOL, which puts it on track to be built this year.

Do you want to be one of the first to read stories like this? Our newsletter features all of the top stories of the week condensed into one easy-to-read email. It’s fast and free to sign up, so click here to sign up now.