Featured image: Lillium N.V.

Lilium eVTOL to Operate in the French Riviera by 2026

DALLAS — Lilium N.V., UrbanV, and Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA) have announced an innovative partnership to establish a vertiport network in the French Riviera, marking the region as the first in Europe to enable regional air mobility.

This collaboration aims to connect key destinations such as Monaco, Nice, Sophia Antipolis, Cannes, Golfe de Saint-Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille with the Lilium Jet, an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

This partnership is set to create a comprehensive network of vertiports, leveraging the strong local ecosystem in the South of France. The network will include major airports like Nice Côte d’Azur, the second-largest airport in France, as well as Cannes Mandelieu and Golfe de Saint-Tropez airports.

Lilium plans to sell its jets to various operators, with flights anticipated to commence in 2026. This initiative is poised to introduce low-noise, fully electric air travel to a region that attracts approximately 11 million tourists annually. The Lilium Jet's VTOL capability and zero operating emissions align perfectly with the Côte d’Azur's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 without offsetting emissions.

According to Lillium, discussions are also underway to expand the network to include additional vertiports in Sophia Antipolis, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille, with plans expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

Environmental, Economic Impact

The introduction of the Lilium Jet is expected to significantly enhance the transportation infrastructure in the French Riviera, providing a sustainable and time-efficient alternative to traditional travel methods.

UrbanV’s vertiports will play a crucial role in this transformation, offering sustainable ground infrastructure to ensure safe and seamless operations. This development is not only a leap towards environmental sustainability but also a boost to the region's appeal as a premier tourist and business destination.

Once operational, the regional network will offer fast, safe, and sustainable travel options, drastically reducing travel time compared to car journeys. This initiative underscores the potential of eVTOL technology to revolutionize regional air mobility, setting a precedent for similar developments across Europe and beyond.

Comments from Stakeholders

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 decarbonization 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."

Pre-order the 2025 Airways Calendar