Lyte Aviation and Twente Airport to develop European regional route network
Lyte Aviation is partnering with Twente Airport to develop regional routes to cut commuter times between European cities like Paris, Munich and Birmingham.
The UK-based eVTOL firm is developing a 40-seat, heavyweight passenger mass transit aircraft it calls SkyBus LA-44. The idea is to connect the Twente region with Paris, Birmingham, Munich or Hamburg, allowing corporations based there to reach HQs, European counterparts and co-workers in under two hours.
Freshta Farzam, CEO Lyte Aviation told Revolution.Aero: “Twente Airport is a jewel for our European regional business case as it’s located in the rural area of the Netherlands, near all the Europe-wide well connected corporates, and around 200km away from Amsterdam International Airport. That means, anyone wanting to fly out from there has to drive to Amsterdam first, which again means additional travel time before you can actually fly.”
With all the surrounding corporates in the area, such as Thales, Sensata Technologies, Malvern PANAlytical and VDL, Twente Airport is ideally positioned for the pilot project, said Farzam. “We chose to design an alternative to the normal regional air route by laying two new efficient connecting points between the Dutch regional Twente airport and a new vertiport right at the doorstep of a corporate! We are bringing the future right to your doorstep,” she added.
Designers say the SkyBus is being designed to be five times more fuel efficient than a helicopter, 10 times less noise polluting than a helicopter with a range of 1000km. With its tandem tilt-wing technology, power will come from hybrid-hydrogen-electric turboprops and electric engines. Lyte is estimating entering the market within five to six years.
Twente Airport offers space and facilities to new and established sustainable aviation companies that are looking to test aircraft, systems and procedures. The airport likes to think of itself as a living lab for sustainable aviation. Jan Schuring, CEO of Twente Airport said: “The aviation industry is going through a number of revolutions that will fundamentally change how we will travel in the future. Our facilities are available as a testing ground for the innovations of the next generation of aircraft, systems and procedures. Lyte Aviation is a perfect example of a company that is looking to disrupt the status quo; we’re keen to assist them in this endeavour.”
Farzam believes it’s easier to build an aircraft than it is to change someone’s mindset. “The leaders of Twente Airport have a brilliant visionary mindset for innovation, sustainability and advanced air mobility and have the courage to be the front runners in redefining regional aviation together with us,” she says.
Lyte is betting on the regional commuter market for its passenger-carrying business. “Suddenly [due to access to vertical takeoff passenger services], you have the liberty to choose your most efficient routes and you can move 40 people from city to city with our SkyBus by just setting up a vertiport of approx. 40m x 40m size anywhere where it makes most economic sense. You can connect now regional airports with new vertiports, or create new vertiport to vertiport routes. The market for that in developing countries but also in developed countries is endless.
“What is a normal business in São Paulo, helicopters flying you from A to B in order to avoid congestion on the roads, is what our SkyBus brings for the masses in urban air mobility but due to our extended range also between regions,” said Farzam.