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China: AutoFlight expands into Europe, targets air taxi passenger flights by 2025

By Chris Stonor

AutoFlight, the Chinese eVTOL company, announced this week it is establishing a base in Germany, reports a press release.

A team led by former Airbus manager, Mark Henning, “is now ramping up at Augsburg Airport”, where the first task is to achieve European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for AutoFlight’s air taxi Prosperity I.

The air taxi has a range of approximately 250 kilometres and can comfortably seat up to three passengers in addition to the pilot. The certification program will begin this year, with completion expected by 2025.

Mark Henning

The team will work at the R&D and certification centre in Augsburg where AutoFlight aims to establish additional locations for test and demonstration flights across Europe. Prosperity I is the company’s first manned aircraft. Previously, the company’s focus was on unmanned cargo drones.

Tian Yu, the company’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, commented, “I am delighted to announce that Mark Henning is joining AutoFlight in Europe to build our Prosperity I air taxi according to EASA safety standards.”

Henning added, “We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a high-tech location and jobs as we build drones and create a completely new market segment for air taxis. What I really like about AutoFlight and Prosperity I is the underlying simple concept. Simplicity translates into safety and efficiency.”

Henning is an aeronautical engineer and graduate of Munich’s Technical University and has worked in the aviation industry for 26 years. He began his career at DASA and held leadership positions at EADS and Eurocopter. Previously, he was Manager for Governmental Business at the helicopter division of Airbus and head of product EC135. Henning has also held positions in program management, strategy, production and development and has worked for the Airbus Group in Indonesia, South Korea, Israel, South Africa and the United States.

Footnote 

AutoFlight is one of the earliest autonomous eVTOL companies in China. The company has built cargo drones capable of transporting heavy payloads. AutoFlight completed more than 10,000 take-offs and landings including during adverse weather conditions. The company is now ready to build its people carrier Prosperity I and will show the progress made via its transition tests in a few weeks.

AutoFlight V400

AutoFlight is a global high-tech startup, founded in China, dedicated to developing and manufacturing autonomous aerial vehicles. The company’s primary mission is to provide safe and reliable aerial logistics systems and urban air mobility solutions for people. AutoFlight uses new technologies, including artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, 5G, and materials to drive developments in the eVTOL  industry.

In 2021, European tech holding company Team Global, based in Berlin/Germany, invested USD100 million in AutoFlight. Its founder and CEO, Lukasz Gadowski, is a board member of the company.

For more information

https://www.autoflight.com/en/