Boeing invests $450 million in flying taxi developer Wisk
Wisk, an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company and developer of the first all-electric, self-flying air taxi in the U.S., has secured $450 million in funding from The Boeing Company, making it one of the most well-funded AAM companies in the world. Marc Allen, Chief Strategy Officer of Boeing said: “With this investment, we are reconfirming our belief in Wisk’s business and the importance of their work in pioneering all-electric, AI-driven, autonomous capability for the aerospace industry. Autonomy is the key to unlocking scale across all AAM applications, from passenger to cargo and beyond.”
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New Zealand, Wisk began in 2010 as Zee Aero and later merged with Kitty Hawk Corporation. Over the past decade, Wisk has achieved a number of aviation and industry firsts, most notably, the first flight of an all-electric, autonomous, eVTOL aircraft designed for passenger use, in the U.S. Previous undisclosed funding rounds were led by The Boeing Company and Kitty Hawk Corporation. Kitty Hawk remains an investor and has supported the development of Wisk’s previous generations of aircraft. www.wisk.aero
Chinese AutoFlight to bring eVTOL airtaxis to Europe
AutoFlight continues its global expansion: A team led by former Airbus manager Mark R. Henning is now ramping up at Augsburg Airport in Germany. The team’s first task is to achieve EASA certification for AutoFlight's airtaxi ‘Prosperity I’, an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft with a range of approximately 250 kilometers. It is designed for up to three passengers in addition to the pilot. The certification program will begin this year, with completion expected by 2025. Previously, the company’s focus was on unmanned cargo drones. In January 2022, Mark Henning took on the position as Managing Director at AutoFlight Europe. He started his career at DASA and held leadership positions at EADS and Eurocopter. Previously, he was Manager for Governmental Business at Airbus Helicopters and head of product EC135.
AutoFlight is one of the earliest tech companies in China to make autonomous eVTOL. The Chinese company is headquartered in Shanghai, with a flight control system research center in Germany and a composite material manufacturing plant in Jining/Shandong province. In 2021, European tech holding company Team Global, based in Berlin/Germany, invested 100 million US dollars in AutoFlight. Its founder and CEO, Lukasz Gadowski, is a board member of AutoFlight. www.autoflight.com
Bidding process reopens for Piaggio Aerospace
With a notice published last week in a selected number of financial newspapers, the Extraordinary Commissioner Vincenzo Nicastro officially reopened the bidding process for the sale of the business complexes of Piaggio Aero Industries and its subsidiary Piaggio Aviation, the two companies operating under the Piaggio Aerospace brand. The company, which entered receivership in 2018, had originally attracted 19 expressions of interest for the acquisition of Piaggio Aerospace. Negotiations with a single prospective buyer - reportedly a consortium headed by the Swedish fund Summa Equity - faltered late last year.
“Discussions with a number of counterparties are still ongoing, but we want to be sure we can guarantee a long-term future to the company”, Nicastro said. Those who will be interested in buying the company will have to send their expressions of interest to the Extraordinary Commissioner no later than February 28, 2022. In the meantime, Piaggio Aerospace closed one of its best recent financial years: the turnover reached EUR 152 million with an order book of approximately 500 million euro and new contracts still to be formalized for further 180 million euro. www.piaggioaerospace.it
People: Nadia Kaddouri – new Swissport chief strategy & sustainability officer
Nadia Kaddouri has been appointed to the Group Global management team as Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer of Swissport International in addition to her position as Chief of Staff to the President and CEO, effective 1 January 2022. In her new role, she will drive Swissport’s business strategy with a strong focus on market intelligence, trends, and innovations, and will take over the lead of Swissport's lounge and executive aviation businesses. In addition to the corporate strategy, the responsibility for driving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics will be at the core of her agenda. Nadia will also continue to serve as the company’s Chief of Staff, leading the CEO Office and supporting Warwick Brady, President & CEO of Swissport International, in managing the growth of the business. Nadia Kaddouri has joined Swissport in 2014 and brings many years of experience in financial leadership roles. Her latest roles included Chief Financial Officer of the EMEA region, where her efforts centered around business development and commercial strategies. She previously worked as Senior Vice President Group FP&A, Senior Integration Manager following the acquisition of Servisair and Group Business Controller. She assumed the role of Chief of Staff to the President and CEO since June 2021. Prior to joining Swissport, Nadia managed the sales process of Servisair and was Regional Controller Eastern Europe at Azelis. www.swissport.com