Balkiz Sarihan, the CEO and head of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) at Airbus, has revealed more details on when the manufacturer plans to have the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL ready for customers.
Speaking recently at Revolution.Aero in Dublin, Sarihan told an audience of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) insiders that the all-electric aircraft would go to market in the “second half of the decade”.
However, the Airbus executive was keen to stress that the company was “not in a rush at all on this one” and has little interest in being the first eVTOL available.
“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.,” Sarihan explained.
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 success with Vahana and CityAirbus Alpha, including demonstrations of flight, Airbus felt both aircraft had their “limitations”.
“So, we went into a deep convergence programme, and this is why when we talk about our product vision, it is CityAirbus Next Gen. She is 100% electric, and she is full VTOL,” Sarihan said.
The CEO also gave some insight into where Airbus sees its future in the eVTOL market.
“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.”