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eVTOLs headed to regional WA after new Embraer deal

written by Hannah Dowling | February 17, 2022

Embraer offshoot Eve Urban Air Mobility has been busy driving the future of Australia’s air taxi market amid the Singapore Airshow, signing a number of new deals that will see eVTOLs operating in WA and Victoria by 2026.

In Western Australia, Kununurra-based air charter companies Aviair and HeliSpirit have placed an order for up to 50 of Eve’s zero-emission electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with flights to commence in 2026.

Both Aviair and HeliSpirit currently operate scenic charters throughout the Western Australia Kimberly, South West and Greater Perth regions on its current fleet of over 50 fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

Aviair and HeliSpirit managing director Michael McConachy said the partnership marks the companies’ continued commitment to greener operations.

“Eve’s eVTOL technology is well-aligned with our business model and desire to be at the forefront of carbon-neutral solutions for the aviation industry,” he said.

“The low-noise footprint of the aircraft makes them particularly well-suited to operations in sensitive natural settings, including national parks and World Heritage-listed areas, as well as for urban transfers providing quick and efficient solutions for both business and tourism travellers,” McConachy added.

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Eve co-CEO Andre Stein said, “This initiative is a significant milestone for Eve. Our partnership opens up an important market in Western Australia that will see our aircraft serving Australia’s iconic tourist attractions with zero emission and low-noise flights.

“We share a common vision of a carbon-neutral future for air mobility, supported by Eve’s eVTOL, comprehensive service and support network, and air traffic management solutions.”

It comes after Perth-based electric aviation start-up FlyOnE announced last month it is also aiming to introduce a zero-emission regional air taxi network in Western Australia in 2026, after signing a deal to secure 28 electric fixed-wing aircraft.

The company partnered with Dutch electric aircraft manufacturer ELECTRON Aerospace to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to purchase 28 of ELECTRON’s electric aircraft and has been promised priority delivery across 2026 and 2027.

Meanwhile, on the east coast, Eve has also expanded upon its existing partnership with Melbourne-based charter helicopter operator Microflite, in order to deliver up to 40 Eve eVTOL aircraft to the operator by 2026.

Microflite and Eve plan to work together to bring eVTOL operations into Melbourne’s bustling CBD and are set to soon begin operations together using helicopters as a proof of concept, to validate parameters that will apply to future eVTOL operations.

The partnership also aims to develop new services and procedures that will create a safe and scalable operating environment for eVTOL operations outside of Melbourne.

“This order builds on the successful partnership we have established with Eve and validates the exciting potential of zero-emission aircraft in Australia,” said Jonathan Booth, CEO of Microflite.

“After working closely with Eve over the past few months, we have identified a network of potential routes and we look forward to working with commercial partners and communities to prioritise these routes and trial selected operations with our existing fleet.”

These mark the latest in a long line of partnerships that Eve has formed to bring eVTOLs and Urban Air Mobility solutions to Australia by as early as 2025.

In December 2020, Eve partnered with Airservices Australia to reveal an initial concept of operations (CONOPS) for the flying taxi market in Melbourne.

The CONOPS explored the foundation of new and practical concepts to safely facilitate the introduction of air taxis in the city.

Eve noted that off the back of the Australian government’s support of urban air traffic management solutions and the country’s strong aviation safety record, Australia could be one of the world’s first urban air mobility markets.

Last year, Eve announced its initial partnership with Microflite that will work to lay the foundations and validate parameters so eVTOL vehicles can launch in the city in just five years’ time.

It came shortly after Eve announced a separate partnership with Ascent to allow the revolutionary aircraft to be booked via an Uber-style app.

More recently, two new deals were announced that will see eVTOL aircraft touch down in both Sydney and Cairns – the first announcements of its kind outside of Melbourne.

In December, Eve partnered with Cairns-based helicopter tourism operator Nautilus Aviation in order to bring eVTOLs to Queensland.

Under the agreement, Nautilus is set to welcome up to 10 of Eve’s eVTOL aircraft to replace part of its current helicopter fleet, and perform tourist flights throughout northern Queensland, including the iconic Great Barrier Reef, by 2026.

Then, just days later, Eve penned a deal with Sydney Seaplanes that will see the iconic Sydney-based aviation tourism provider purchase up to 50 of Eve’s eVTOLs, with deliveries also expected to commence in 2026.

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