Saudi Arabia’s FII-I invests in electric-flight startup Lilium

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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Lilium Jet
Representational Image

Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative Institute (FII-I) has invested in Lilium, a German electric aircraft startup.

The investment is part of a $3.3 billion deal, that will see Lilium list on the Nasdaq market in the US after a merger with Qell Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition firm. The deal would raise around $830 million for the startup.

The FII-I’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Richard Attias remarked that “our investment in Lilium is aligned with the FII-Institute’s mission: to support initiatives and projects which will have a positive impact on humanity.”

Lilium's Five Seater
Lilium’s Prototype Five-Seater Electric Jet

The FII-I is a non-profit think tank and foundation that supports the advancement of technology to solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. Its board of directors includes Mr. Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Princess Reema Bint Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, the managing director of Emaar Properties, and former Italian Prime Minister Mr. Matteo Renzi.

The institute has partnered with multinational fund managers Baillie Gifford, Blackrock, and Pimco, as well as Tencent of China, Ferrovial of Spain, and US big data company Palantir.
Lilium, which employs more than 400 engineers, has been developing a 7-seater vertical take-off and landing electric jet for the past five years. The aircraft, which will be used as a regional shuttle service, has a range of more than 155 miles and a planned cruising speed of 175 miles per hour.

It has already gained CRI-A01 certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and is planning a launch network in Florida, with 14 separate sites being developed by the company’s infrastructure partners across the state. It also has ten sites planned in Europe. The 7-seater jet is expected to begin commercial operations in 2024, according to the company.

Mr. Alexander Asseily, Lilium’s Chief Strategy Officer concluded that “we view the FII-I as one of the leading global platforms for sustainable impact investments and a strategic partner who can help drive our vision for an open global architecture for carbon-neutral air travel.”

Related: Saudi Arabia-based SANS is fifth globally in Global Safety Achievement Award