Lilium is in “advanced discussions” with the French government over potential subsidies and other financial backing that could see it locate a new production facility in the southwest of the country.

However, the German-headquartered company insists the move does not alter its plans to also build its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Lilium Jet in Bavaria in southern Germany.

ASL Group-c-Lilium

Source: Lilium

Lilium is targeting 2026 for service entry

To date, Lilium has been assembling Lilium Jet prototypes at its main site in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich.

Although the possibility of new site in France would seem to signal an intent to flit across the Rhine, Lilium insists it will maintain two large production facilities in Europe in order to meet customer demand.

“This has no impact on our plans and growth strategy in Bavaria,” it says.

Lilium says the talks with Paris cover “plans to expand its high-volume production capacity with an industrial footprint in France and on potential government subsidies and loan guarantees.” It expects the negotiations to be concluded in the coming weeks.

Several potential sites in France are currently under evaluation “including in the aerospace and battery production hotbeds of Nouvelle Aquitaine” in the southwest of the country.

Although that region does not encompass Toulouse, the French aerospace capital is located in nearby Occitanie.

No details of the proposed plant’s activities have been disclosed, but Lilium says the establishment of the plant would “boost French export volumes”, hinting at final assembly. The mention of battery production also appears significant.

Lilium cites several reasons for the potential move, including France’s “highly skilled workforce, and supportive government environment.”

It says there would be a total future investment of up to €400 million ($431 million) “over several years”, which could create up to 850 new direct jobs.

Lilium hopes to achieve certification for the Lilium Jet in 2026 and is “preparing for larger-scale production to meet expected global market demand.” It holds firm and tentative agreements for a total of 780 aircraft.