flyv's ambitious plan to deploy 100 eSTOL aircraft for on-demand air travel
Electra's hybrid-electric aircraft can land on a 300-foot runway.
flyv, founded by former airline CEO Tomislav Lang, aims to bridge the gap between conventional airlines and eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft).
Their electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft will bring passengers close to cities and utilise eVTOLs for the final stretch.
flyv (short for flyvirtual) will offer an on-demand flying service, bookable via an app. It will use small, hybrid-electric aircraft.
It will use a scheduling platform and algorithm to optimise daily flight schedules and operate out of anywhere with a runway, including small airfields.
The airline plans to start with the Tecnam P2012 STOL, a small regional aircraft, while awaiting the certification of Electra's eSTOL aircraft. This hybrid-electric powered plane will be able to carry nine passengers for up to 400 nautical miles. It will require only a 300-foot runway for landing.
flyv is considering operating in various markets, including the Nordics. Note that Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have all committed to phasing out fossil fuel-powered domestic flights.
Transforming urban travel: a vision for realistic eVTOL integration
Formerly the CEO of Swiss airline Skywork, Lang sees his new company, flyv, as “the missing piece” between conventional airlines and eVTOLs. flyv will bring passengers close to cities, flying into anywhere that has a runway. Subsequently, an eVTOL will take them the final distance to a city centre “vertiport.”
Describing flyv as an "aviation tech company", Lang's model revolves around offering an on-demand flying service with an app, utilising small, hybrid-electric aircraft.
flyv is headquartered in Germany, but Lang says they could operate anywhere. One market of interest is the Nordics, with Denmark, Sweden and Norway all having made commitments to phase out fossil fuel-powered domestic flights between 2030-2040.
We spoke to him at London’s ‘Move’ exhibition and conference to learn more.
On-demand flying: changing air travel with algorithm-driven scheduling
Instead of operating traditional fixed routes like an airline, flyv will operate a scheduling platform driven by an algorithm. This will optimise daily flight schedules based on paid bookings and operational constraints.
Lang illustrates the concept using a regional flight in the UK as an example:
"Imagine you want to travel from Southampton to Liverpool and need to depart at 8 am. You can book it through my system , pay the price, receive your booking confirmation, and then go somewhere nearby."
The departure location will be optimised for where passengers are based. For example, it could be Southampton Airport itself or even somewhere like Solent Airport outside Southampton, which currently only handles general aviation traffic.
Lang explains how flyv consolidates these decentralised traffic streams, ensuring efficient utilisation of capacity: "We avoid the issue of flying empty by matching the right aircraft with the demand. Our network is dynamic, scalable, and disruptive."
What’s more, the average cost of a ticket will be no more than €150. Lang says that though flyv will be an affordable mode of transport, he’s not aiming to be the cheapest: “We will be addressing people like you, like me, who need to get somewhere fast and don’t want to spend nine hours on the road,” he says.
Lang hopes that flyv will be the first airline to demonstrate the viability of aviation as an on-demand service.
Moreover, by bringing passengers closer to their desired locations, flyv can also facilitate eVTOL operations:
"With our knowledge, they can build more effective networks. It's no longer a guesswork scenario. We can provide concrete data and say, 'Look, we have hundreds of thousands of passengers who can be brought near a city. Establish a vertiport there — in the city centre — and you have the customers. You handle the last mile, and together we provide an integrated vertical service.”
An electra-fying partnership
Initially, flyv intends to employ the Tecnam P2012, a small regional aeroplane featuring a short takeoff and landing (STOL) configuration.
By starting with a conventional kerosene-powered plane, flyv intends to fine-tune its operational model while awaiting the aircraft it eventually wants to fly, which is made by Virginia-based Electra.
Expected to enter service in 2026, Electra is developing an electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.
Capable of carrying nine passengers up to 400 nautical miles using hybrid electric power, the aircraft will only need a 300-foot runway to land, significantly expanding flyv's flight options. In fact, Electra claims that its aircraft can navigate spaces "smaller than a soccer field.”
Because takeoffs will generally only use the electric motor, Electra also offers a noise reduction of around 70% compared to other regional aircraft. That gives it more flexibility when flying close to populated areas.
Electra will be starting tests on a two-seat piloted tech demonstrator this summer. It claims “$4 billion in demand through letters of intent with 30 customers.” This includes flyv, which is looking to buy 100 Electra aircraft once they are certified.
The company is also looking to attract investors to get its network off the ground. Lang says that the company’s business model means that the sum needed is comparatively modest. He says it is comparable to one and a half 737s, or 20 miles of road. For that, “you get market entry, you are first to the market, you conquer the market,” emphasises Lang.
We've been tracking Electra’s progress for some time now. Its nine-seat eSTOL is an exciting product that has many potential applications since it enables landings on small landing spaces.
One such use case aligns closely with flyv's on-demand flying model.
Electra’s eSTOL offers flyv the flexibility to land in just about any location with a suitable runway, including general aviation airports. With only nine seats, even if only a handful of passengers travel on a route, the service can still be economically viable.
Moreover, the prospect of integrating with eVTOL companies to provide last-mile service from flyv's airfields holds promise. What makes this collaboration particularly attractive is that, unlike airlines with fixed routes, flyv will be able to bring passengers from a significantly wider range of origins to their desired destinations.
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