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A September agreement between Pipistrel and Chinese company Sino GA Group to produce airplanes in China will be presented publicly during an airshow in China in November. Proceeds from the sale could be used to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells for aircraft.
The deal involves setting up a new company in China to manufacture electric aircraft including the Alpha Electro and Panthera Hybrid models. The production capacity is expected to exceed 500 aircraft per year.
The seven-year project will include the construction of new centers with production facilities for both aircraft models as well as a runway, plus a maintenance and training facility for both models in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province and Yinchuan. The combined value of the project is more than 500 million EUR ($547 million U.S. dollars). Pipistrel will use a part of proceeds for the development of a new zero-emission 19-seat aircraft powered by hybrid electric technology and hydrogen low-temperature fuel cells planned for public transportation between the cities in China and all over the world.
The Chinese company will have the rights to sell the aircraft in Chinese territory and in neighboring countries, namely Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Korea, and Mongolia.
The contract also includes the delivery of 50 of each aircraft model, all required knowledge of assembly for the two models, training of personnel in Slovenia (where Pipistrel is located), implementing the assembly process in the new Chinese facilities, and supervision of newly established production for quality assurance.
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