Lilium, UrbanV, the Italian vertiport network operator, and Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA), managing Nice Côte d’Azur airport, the second largest airport place in France, along with the airports of Cannes Mandelieu and Golfe de Saint-Tropez, have announced plans to bring Lilium Jet flights to the South of France starting in 2026.

A new network will connect the French Riviera with key destinations throughout Southern France including Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Golfe de Saint-Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille.

Lilium is teaming up with ACA and UrbanV to forge a partnership aiming to develop a large part of this network, building upon strong local ecosystem support in the South of France.

As the first partnership of its kind in the region, this collaboration aims to establish and operate eVTOLs between a network of vertiports including Nice Côte d’Azur airport — the second-largest airport in France, transporting over 14 million travellers per year — together with Cannes Mandelieu airport, Golfe de Saint-Tropez airport, and further locations under consideration.

Additionally, Lilium is currently in ongoing discussions with further local partners for the possible creation of additional vertiports in Sophia Antipolis, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille, which are expected to be concluded before the end of the year.

The news comes as Lilium announces additional funding of up to $114 million granted by existing investors including BIT Capital, Earlybird Venture Capital and Aceville Pte Limited, an affiliate of Tencent Holdings Limited.

Lilium is currently in talks with several operators that are interested in purchasing the Lilium Jet and operating the network to create a sustainable, time-saving experience for their passengers.

The French Riviera, globally known as the Côte d’Azur, combines some of the world’s most attractive holiday and business event destinations on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. The Côte d’Azur serves as a vital transportation hub attracting over 11 million tourists annually.

Environmental sustainability is at the core of the Côte d’Azur region, with Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur committing to achieve carbon neutrality without offsetting its own emissions from 2030. With its expected VTOL capability, low noise, and zero operating emissions, the Lilium Jet will be the optimal mode of regional transportation to help achieve this goal.

UrbanV’s vertiports will assist the commitment to emissions neutrality, developing sustainable ground infrastructure for eVTOLs to ensure safe, feasible, and seamless operations while providing a delightful passenger experience thanks to its innovative technologies and efficient operations.

Once live, the regional network will connect highly frequented destinations with fast, safe, and sustainable travel for passengers to get to their destination at a fraction of the time typically required by car.

Franck Goldnadel, chairman of the board, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, said: “This collaboration with Lilium together with our subsidiary UrbanV marks an important step in the transformation and decarbonisation of regional air mobility. Our territory offers a unique opportunity to fly over the sea to directly connect the main economic, cultural or tourist destinations.

“A complementary alternative to the helicopter, the eVTOL has its place in the air transport offered from Nice Côte d’Azur, laboratory of the airport of tomorrow, second platform in France and gateway to and exit from a landlocked territory.”

Carlo Tursi, CEO at UrbanV, said: “At UrbanV, we aim to improve people’s lives by enabling a fast, efficient, safe, and clean alternative to existing transport solutions for people and goods over short distances, by air. We have the ambition to become a major global operator of vertiport networks and we will be global pioneers in establishing some of the first AAM routes worldwide.

“We are excited to partner with Lilium and Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, two global leaders in their respective fields, and we look forward to exploring together with them the great potential of introducing advanced air mobility in the French Riviera.”

Sebastien Borel, CCO of Lilium, said: “As a truly European company based in Munich, Germany, with flight testing in Spain and with nascent roots in France, Lilium is extremely proud to be able to assist in the creation of the first regional eVTOL network in the South of France and the first commercially viable network in the EU. We see an enormous potential in this region and cannot wait to see our Lilium Jet fly there soon.”
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