VoltAero has selected Rochefort airport in the Charente-Maritime department of France's Nouvelle-Aquitaine region to produce its family of Cassio hybrid-electric aircraft on a new purpose-built final assembly line.
This marks another milestone in VoltAero's development plan for its four 10-seat product line of Cassio aircraft, placing the production facility at a strategic location in southwest France known for its dynamic economy and established presence of industry, including the aviation sector.
VoltAero's final selection of Rochefort Charente-Maritime was announced at the conclusion of a week-long French tour with its Cassio 1 hybrid-electric demonstrator aircraft, which wrapped up the 11-city, 3,000 km itinerary at Rochefort. Cassio 1 serves as the testbed to validate VoltAero's proprietary hybrid-electric power module that will be used in the production Cassio aircraft.
“After an in-depth review of numerous candidate sites, Rochefort was the clear winner based on factors that include its ground and sea-based transportation links, an established aerospace industry in the region and the final assembly line's favourable location adjacent to the airport's runway infrastructure,” explains Jean Botti, VoltAero CEO and chief technology officer. “This choice also continues our presence in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which has provided backing and support for our company from the beginning."
President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region Alain Rousset adds: “VoltAero perfectly illustrates the challenge of transitioning the aeronautics sector and regional aviation to be more respectful of the environment, as well as a means of bringing together between the French territories. As an early partner of VoltAero with Jean Botti and his teams, I am pleased to participate in the announcement of the final assembly line's establishment in Nouvelle-Aquitaine at Rochefort airport, a major step forward in the development of VoltAero.”
The facility will be situated on a 6,770 sqm site that incorporates the assembly line, logistics areas and offices. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022. At full rate, VoltAero anticipates producing approximately 150 aircraft per year for the Cassio aircraft family.
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. The initial Cassio 330 deliveries are targeted for the fourth quarter 2023.