Airbus has signed an agreement with its long-term Tier 1-supplier Spirit AeroSystems on the development and manufacturing of the wings for the CityAirbus NextGen. The revised version of Airbus’ eVTOL vehicle is scheduled to make its first flight in 2023. Airbus and Spirit tie-up on CityAirbus wings.
Airbus and Spirit announced the agreement on March 9 during Heli-Expo 2022 in Dallas. Both companies will jointly develop a minimum-weight solution for the CityAirbus fixed wings configuration that is suitable for both hovering and cruising. Spirit AeroSystems will produce the wings at its Belfast facility.
“The partnership with Spirit AeroSystems is an important step for the development of CityAirbus NextGen and its wings are key structural components for flight efficiency,” Airbus Head of Urban Air Mobility, Joerg Mueller, said in a media statement.
Last September, Airbus unveiled the CityAirbus NextGen, which builds on two previous designs that were launched in 2017 under the Vahana project. The latest iteration is a four-seater with eight rotors and a V-shaped tail. It should have a range of eighty kilometers and a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour. The final configuration is still being studied and determined only after wind tunnel tests.
Mueller said in September that the CityAirbus is expected to enter service in 2025. But whereas competitors like Eve UAM, Vertical Aerospace, Volocopter, Archer, and Joby have clinched commitments for hundreds of eVTOLs (many of them to be confirmed…), the CityAirbus is listed without any commercial announcements so far. Airbus seems to be clearly lagging behind in this market, of which quite a few aren’t sure if the big numbers are real or just a bubble.