Chinese urban air mobility (UAM) company EHang has completed the first passenger-carrying flights of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in Wencheng, China as part of the development of tourism services in the region. 

EHang confirmed that it had delivered 27 EH216-S eVTOLs from a 30-strong order to the Wencheng County Transportation Development Group, which has already used one of the aircraft for a sightseeing tour at Tianding Lake. 

Zhao Wang, COO of EHang, said: “Following the obtainment of the Type Certificate, Standard Airworthiness Certificate and Production Certificate for our EH216-S, we’ve received a surge in bulk orders from customers and partners globally. 

“This is a testament of the market recognition of our innovative pilotless eVTOL products and solutions, as well as the robust demand for UAM and low-altitude economy development worldwide.” 

The pilotless EH216-S is the first of its kind to be certified for passenger operations by the Civil Aviation Administration of China and is taking its first commercial flights as part of Wencheng’s ‘low-altitude tourism’ initiative, which will open fully later in the year. 

The development group has already worked with EHang to establish a dedicated takeoff and landing site for the aircraft at its Baizhangji Fall and Feiyun Lake Scenic Resort and plans to expand its UAM operations centre and infrastructure to other areas in the region. 

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EHang has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Wencheng County Government to jointly develop an UAM ecosystem in the county for tourism, transportation, and emergency response services, one of many similar partnerships made by the company around China.

Zhaozheng Luo, secretary of Wencheng County Government, said he wanted the region to become a “demonstration county” for the development of a low-altitude flight economy. 

He said: “Bringing low-altitude scenarios forward to flourish across Wencheng will nurture low-altitude industries, empower diverse business models, and refine low-altitude service management for efficiency and safety.” 

The flight in Wencheng comes after EHang’s many demonstrations of its aircraft both in China and around the world, with the EH216-S being flown in recent months in countries including Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

EHang’s successful first commercial operations puts the Chinese company ahead of its western counterparts, which are still working on approval for their eVTOL aircraft from US and EU regulators.

However, companies such as Joby, Eve and Archer are all in the middle of testing their eVTOLs, with the former hoping to launch commercial operations in 2025.