A recently signed agreement has positioned Airways Aviation, a privately owned group of multidisciplinary aviation academies based in France and Australia, as the candidate launch customer in France for VoltAero's family of Cassio hybrid-electric aircraft, which are to be deployed for regional mobility and pilot training.
Based on an MoU, VoltAero will collaborate with Airways Aviation on defining the utilisation of Cassio aircraft in their four-, six- and 10-seat versions (the Cassio 330, Cassio 480 and Cassio 600, respectively) to develop scheduled and on-demand air transport services in southern France.
Additionally, Airways Aviation is to explore Cassio's use in the company's own pilot training courses, including the development of a flight simulator, as well as evolving innovative training and courses related to hybrid-electric technologies in aviation, covering such subject matter as airports and infrastructure.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Jean Botti, VoltAero's CEO and chief technical officer; and Capt. Mauro Calvano, the president of Airways Aviation, during an event at Airways Aviation's Montpellier-Méditerranée airport headquarters.
This event, which was themed ‘For a Quieter and Cleaner Sky’, also included the presence of VoltAero's Cassio 1 hybrid-electric demonstrator aircraft, which performed a local flight to highlight its performance capabilities and low noise level. Cassio 1 was made available for inspection by invited local and regional officials, as well as by pilots currently in Airways Aviation's training.
“Airways Aviation is the perfect partner for VoltAero, as this company's dual expertise in pilot training and aircraft operations will enable us to jointly pursue a shared vision for the future of hybrid-electric aircraft,” Botti says.
With more than 30 years of expertise, Airways Aviation's business activities include the Airways Aviation Academy, a leading global aviation school for the training of pilots, cabin crews and ground-based workers at locations in France and Australia. In 2019, Airways Aviation Group acquired the renowned French aviation education and training organisation, ESMA (Ecole Supérieure des Métiers de l'Aéronautique), which is the largest privately owned multidisciplinary aviation school in Europe.
To date, Airways Aviation and ESMA have graduated a combined total of more than 33,000 pilots, cabin crew members, aircraft maintenance engineers and ground handling personnel.
Calvano adds: “We all are very excited about the collaboration. Our mission at Airways Aviation is to train, educate and shape a new generation of industry professionals, and we do it in a socially responsible manner, so this is a natural partnership with VoltAero. As we believe VoltAero's Cassio will be a game changer, we also are looking at the potential for air taxi operations with the aircraft in beautiful southern France and the Mediterranean area.”
VoltAero is advancing the Cassio family's design phase, benefitting from the validation of its hybrid-electric powertrain through flight trials with the company's Cassio 1 demonstrator aircraft. The first Cassio version to be produced is the four-seat Cassio 330, with a combined hybrid-electric power of 330 kilowatts. Cassio 330 deliveries are targeted to start in 2023, to be followed by the Cassio 480 and Cassio 600, utilising hybrid-electric propulsion rated at 480 and 600 kilowatts, respectively. At full rate, VoltAero anticipates producing approximately 150 aircraft per year.