AFI KLM E&M and Ascendance Plugged in To Explore VTOL Maintenance Solutions

Oct. 18, 2022
The two companies signed an MOU to explore collaborations in the field of electrically powered aircraft and sustainable aviation.

AFI KLM E&M and Ascendance Flight Technologies announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This memorandum will allow the two companies to explore potential collaborations in the coming months in four main areas: line maintenance, component repair, mechanics training and airworthiness management.

Ascendance is working on one of the most promising vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) projects in Europe. Called Atea, it consists of a 5-seat aircraft with a 400 km range thanks to the Sterna propulsion architecture also developed by the start-up: a distributed hybrid electric motorization, with a modular energetic approach to accept conventional fuel, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) up to hydrogen. The certification activities regarding these technologies have officially started and an Atea prototype is expected to achieve its first flight in 2023.

Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO of Ascendance, said: "We are honored to receive this signal of interest from a major player in the field of aircraft maintenance. In parallel with our efforts to develop a new type of aircraft, it is very important for us to prepare the future of its operations today, in conjunction with the best experts in our industry. Maintenance is obviously at the center of our customers’ concerns and this collaboration with AFI KLM E&M is a major step towards providing them reliable solutions.”

With its experience as an airline-MRO, AFI KLM E&M will be able to answer the young aircraft maker's questions about the issues and challenges involved in developing maintenance policies that are operationally and financially efficient.

Géry Mortreux, EVP Air France Industries, said: "At AFI KLM E&M, we have always been on the lookout for the best innovations in aviation. In particular, we are very interested in electric and hydride electric propulsion technologies, which are set to be future business drivers over the next decade. I believe that this type of cooperation is in the general interest and is a further illustration of the general mobilization of our industry to decarbonize aviation - a collective effort in which AFI KLM E&M is of course fully involved."