If aircraft manufacturers around the world take advantage of the Farnborough Airshow (UK) to announce several orders, most notably Airbus, ATR and Boeing, others will also poke their noses on the sidelines of this meeting. a must in the industry. After Toulouse-based new aircraft manufacturer Aura Aéro placed a pre-order for 200 electric aircraft, Ascendance Flight Technologies repeated the order nine months later.
The Toulouse-based startup, an aircraft and engine manufacturer, has just issued several letters of intent for a general pre-order for the 245 ATEA, its small electric hybrid aircraft. However, the young company, founded in 2018, did not hide the fact that it received the first orders in the summer of 2021.”Further discussions ongoing“, says Ascendance Flight Technologies management to inflate that number. So far, its first customers are Evfly (Singapore), Flyshare (USA), Helifirst (France), Jet Systems Hélicoptères Services (France), Philjets Group (Philippines). ) and Yugo (Singapore).
“These first orders are the result of an internal strategic shift, which was not to develop and offer a technology, but to offer a product,” justifies Thibaut Baldivia, co-founder of Ascendance Flight Technologies and commercial director of the society.
Customers jointly develop hybrid aircraft
This product, named ATEA, is presented as a small hybrid and electric aircraft to participate in “decarbonization of aeronautics“, clarifies the leader. If in the long term he wants to completely eliminate emissions with the hydrogen model, ATEA is currently positioning itself as 80% less polluting than a helicopter, a vehicle that the Toulouse startup wants to replace, but also less noisy.
To do this, this small aircraft with a capacity of five seats and a weight of two tons will work with a vertical take-off and landing system thanks to eight propellers. The company’s customers also have their say in its design.
“For us, they are not just customers, but real partners associated with the design of the aircraft. They are united by an internal committee and participate in joint product development. It is on such details as the accessibility of the cabin or visibility inside the aircraft, but these are the moments that are important for their business, ”specifies Thibault Baldivia.
With a range of 400 kilometers, future ATEA users will be able to practice regional aviation or carry cargo. To further this vision of decentralized air transport aimed at serving secondary cities, Ascendances has just formalized a partnership with Edeis, which manages infrastructure including Toulouse-Francasal Airport.
“We will identify with them lines with high potential of their infrastructure and add operators to this association who will operate certain lines and where there is a need,” comments CCO.
Having relocated its test rigs to the B612 building in Toulouse, the company is preparing to move to the airfield Muret (Haute-Garonne) with the aim of performing the first flight of a full-scale prototype there in 2023. selected after a design competition to conduct demonstration flights during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, prior to certification work in 2025 and production immediately after.
If the goal is to stay in the Toulouse Basin for ATEA industrialization, Ascendance Flight Technologies is currently in talks to find partners to manufacture its aircraft. A point that could affect the production site of the aircraft developed by the startup, which currently employs 45 people and plans to double its staff in 2023.
In addition, the startup is preparing a major fundraiser for this year after completing a €10 million funding round a few months ago.