Pipistrel developing cargo aircraft and hydrogen shuttle
An extended deadline for the development of flying taxis, commissioned by US ride-hailing company Uber, has enabled the Ajdovščina-based Pipistrel to start working on the planned freighter.
Meanwhile, the hydrogen-powered jet for 19 passengers would be intended mainly for transport between cities, for example from Maribor to Zagreb, said Boscarol.
"Currently, there are no such transports, only on roads. That is one of niche markets and the company has started working on its conceptual development," he told the press a few days ago.
Apart from a spacious facility, manufacturing the shuttles would require vast electricity capacities - the planes would be thus made in Italy, a more ideal setting than Ajdovščina, since all the required conditions are met there, he added.
The development of flying taxis for Uber has slowed down due to a "more conservative approach to using such aircraft" taken by international aviation authorities.
The taxis are supposed to be flying mainly above cities, which are considered a challenging ecosystem. The authorities have hence postponed using such vessels until the end of this decade.
As a result, Pipistrel has somewhat shifted its focus to developing a similar aircraft designed to transport cargo, an electricity-powered flying van that is supposed to fly above smaller cities.
Boscarol believes that the freighter will be launched prior to the Uber taxi.
Meanwhile, the company's investments in new plants in China and Italy have been brought to a standstill. The project in China saw zero activity in the past four months, with the investment estimated to be two years behind schedule.
On the other hand, the first phase of the investment in expanding manufacturing capacities at Gorizia Airport is completed, but the company has been deliberately moving slowly to see what happens with the airport.
"The airport was operating for a while, but it's closed now. We can fly in Slovenia, so we fly here now. The company is lucky to have two locations at its disposal," said Boscarol.
The plant in the making near the Slovenian-Italian border is meant to be for producing drones and bigger aircraft.