German media have reported that advanced air mobility developer Volocopter’s bid to gain up to €100 million ($107 million) in government loan guarantees has failed, putting the late-stage start-up in a precarious financial situation.

Chief executive Dirk Hoke is quoted in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung on 24 April as saying that as a result “we may have to consider filing for insolvency in the foreseeable future”.

A company spokesperson on 29 April confirmed Hoke’s quote, and told FlightGlobal that the declined guarantee was “unexpected”. The firm is ”working on several other additional funding streams” and the prospect of insolvency is “not imminent or time-pressured”, they add.

Volo flying 17Oct2023

Source: Billypix / FlightGlobal

Volocopter, which flew its 2X model at last year’s NBAA trade fair, may have to file for insolvency, chief executive Dirk Hoke has reportedly told German media

Volocopter, which has raised more than €500 million in start-up funding so far, was vying for a loan guarantee from the southern German state of Bavaria worth €50 million, which would have been matched by the German federal government. Volocopter had been previously unsuccessful in securing a similar loan guarantee from its home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, due to elevated risk issues.

Bavarian approval would also have signalled the company’s move to that state in the medium term, from its current home in Bruchsal, in Baden-Wuerttenberg.

“The federal government remains very supportive of us,” Volocopter says.

Volocopter had aimed to launch commercial operations of its two-seat VoloCity air taxi at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris and to certificate the aircraft in Europe by the end of the year. But a complex security situation in the French capital during the Games has made it difficult for to secure the necessary authorisations that would allow such a launch.

Volocopter still plans on flying in Paris, but it is unclear if the company will receive permission to fly paying passengers and VIPs, or if the flight campaign will be scaled down to operating test flights with only employees on board. Hoke told FlightGlobal earlier this month that the situation remains in flux and can “change at the last second”.

Earlier this year, the company had received approval to begin serial production of VoloCity at new production and hangar facilities in Bruchsal. On 29 February Volocopter said that the German federal aviation office, or Luftfahrtbundesamt, had granted it a production organsiation approval (POA) extension, which applies to two production and hangar facilities.

The company became “the world’s first and only” electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer to hold both a POA and design organisation approval (DOA). Volocopter had received DOA from European regulator EASA in 2019, followed by the initial POA in 2021 when it acquired glider manufacturer DG Flugzeugbau.

Last November, Volocopter along with US company Joby Aviaiton, both considered frontrunners in the race to launch passenger air taxi operations, flew their aircraft in New York City for the first time.

Volocopter’s 2X prototype had flown previously in Singapore and at the 2023 National Business Aviation Association show in Las Vegas in October 2023.