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Go ahead given for VoltAero Cassio assembly site
VoltAero's Cassio assembly facility is cleared for construction; completion targeted for June 2024. Three final assembly lines will sit alongside a tarmac area and a taxiway that connects to the airport runway.
An absence of commercial air traffic will be an advantage for activities that require frequent access to the runway and the airport infrastructure.

Bids are being sought for the construction of an industrial site at Rochefort - Charente-Maritime airport in France's Nouvelle-Aquitaine region where VoltAero is to perform the assembly and deliveries of its Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family.

This construction project's notification, issued by the regional association of airports called the Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de La Rochelle - Ile de Ré et Rochefort - Charente-Maritime, will lead to the creation of a facility with three Cassio aircraft final assembly lines along with a workshop, logistics area and offices. The move-in timing for VoltAero is expected within a year, targeted for June 2024.

Covering a total area of 7,400 sqm with the possibility for future extensions, the building initially will provide 2,412 sqm of floor space. Project management is the responsibility of the Syndicat Mixte association, and the prime contractor role has been entrusted to the Rochefort-based SDArchitectes agency.

The project's cost of 4.4 million euros, excluding tax, includes road access to the site, as well as a tarmac area for the assembled Cassio aircraft, and a taxiway that connects to the Rochefort - Charente-Maritime airport's runway. The French government will contribute 665,000 euros as part of the National Fund for Territorial Planning and Development (FNADT). Discussions are underway with the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and the Agglomeration Community of Rochefort-Océan for their financial support of the project.

The future presence of VoltAero at Rochefort - Charente-Maritime airport is perfectly aligned with the Syndicat Mixte association's strategy of attracting innovative aeronautical companies that will play a role in the decarbonised aviation of tomorrow.

Advantages of the Rochefort - Charente-Maritime airport for the development of an aeronautical 'industrial hub' include:

- Quality of the existing infrastructure, with a 2,280m long by 45m wide runway that accommodates medium-haul aircraft, along with three taxiways and a control tower, etc;

- An overall available land surface of 16 hectares, with direct access to the runway;

- An absence of commercial air traffic, which is an advantage for the creation of activities that require frequent access to the runway and the airport infrastructure;

- Road access, regional attractiveness and a central location on France's Atlantic coast; and

- A well-established aeronautical industry presence in the greater Rochefort region.

Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de La Rochelle - Ile de Ré et Rochefort - Charente-Maritime president Gérard Pons says: "VoltAero's presence constitutes a go ahead for the development of aeronautical industrial activities at the airport. I hope that this first facility will lead to test and development projects from other innovative aeronautical players.”

VoltAero founder, CEO and chief technical officer Jean Botti congratulated the Syndicat Mixte on its construction go ahead for the assembly site. He says: “This is an important milestone in our development and represents one more step towards decarbonised aviation, which we will create together. We also are proud to contribute to the economic development of France's Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.”

VoltAero is continuing the development of its Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family, benefiting from the validation of the company's proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain with flight tests of its Cassio 1 demonstrator, which has logged 135 flight hours while flying more than 10,000 km.

Cassio aircraft will be offered in three versions. The initial configuration to be produced is the five seat Cassio 330, powered by a 330 kilowatt electric-hybrid propulsion system. VoltAero's follow on six seat Cassio 480 will have an electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 12 seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.

Certification of Cassio is expected at the end of 2024, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered from the Rochefort - Charente-Maritime airport facility in early 2025.

VoltAero currently employs 35 people. When the new facility is completed, the company will move its operations to the airport with some 60 employees. When the planned production output is reached, the plant will employ 150 people and contribute to the creation of 450 indirect jobs.

The company is increasingly acknowledged for its e-aircraft vision for the future. At the recent AERO Friedrichshafen exhibition in Germany, VoltAero received the prestigious E-flight award in recognition of its progress in defining and developing its Cassio aircraft family.

VoltAero will be present at the Paris Air Show, to be held at Paris' Le Bourget airport in June, where the company is to unveil its latest programme developments.

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