In a further bid to accelerate the introduction of passenger flights in autonomous eVTOL aircraft, EHang recently signed a partnership with Chinese hotel group LN Holdings to offer hotel guests flights in its two-seat 216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV). The service will start at the LN Garden Hotel in Guangzhou, which is close to Hong Kong and Macau.
The plans were announced with the signing of an agreement between LN and EHang on May 9. The companies did not say when services will begin or on what basis the aircraft will be approved for commercial passenger flights. However, EHang did provide demonstration flights for media representatives on the day the agreement was signed.
In August 2019, EHang signed an agreement with Guangzhou’s government to begin trial operations with its eVTOL aircraft, and the company has already established a command-and-control center in the city, from which to manage operations of the autonomous aircraft. Hotel guests will be offered aerial sightseeing tours of the area.
In April, EHang provided 10 AAVs to support local emergency personnel responding to flooding in Shaoguan, which, like Guangzhou is in China’s Guangdong province. The manufacturer has previously provided aircraft to support relief operations as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, EHang also recently announced plans to build what it calls an E-port to support AAV operations at Hezhou in China’s Guangxi province. The three-floor facility is expected to be ready by late 2020 and will also support tourism operations. It will have space for four aircraft to land.
On March 24, EHang announced fourth-quarter and full-year results for 2019 for the first time since its initial public offering on New York’s Nasdaq index in December 2019. The group’s total revenues for last year grew by 83.2 percent to around $17.5 million. It recorded an operating loss of $6.7 million, which was 37.7 percent less than it had been in 2018. During 2019, EHang delivered 61 of its AAV aircraft to various dealers and partners.