Lyte Aviation has received a pre-order for 10 aircraft from Vman as it eyes an entrance to the Indian market.

The UK-based eVTOL OEM is developing a 40-seat aircraft it calls the LA-44 SkyBus, with plans to certify by 2028. Vman is aiming to launch India’s UAM market, last year the firm purchased 10 light utility helicopters and sub leased two ATR 72-600s. No financial details of the pre-order have been published.

Vishok Mansingh, CEO at Vman said: “We see the value of eVTOLs in India, but so far the two- to four-seater eVTOLs were not really filling the market demand that we are focused on. When we were introduced to the 40-seater eVTOL by Lyte Aviation, we immediately connected the pain points of our region with the benefits that their SkyBus offer. We want to make sure that we are the front runners of mass transit disruption in India, as it is inevitably coming.

“By the time, the SkyBus is ready to deliver around 2027/28, we want to be one of the first ones that access this mass market in India. Only in Mumbai, there are 1.5m passengers traveling by train. So, we definitely see the value that Lyte’s 40 seater eVTOL will create for our markets that we have access to.” added Vishok.

Lyte’s SkyBus offers a range of 620 miles (1,000km) with a max speed of 190mph (300km/hr). A full-scale prototype is being planned within 24 months. The SkyBus design features two separate propulsion systems, one electric and powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the other turbine powered by SAF.

Freshta Farzam, founder & CEO, LYTE Aviation said: “When we started working on our use cases, we knew that India is one of our main target markets. If you consider the ever growing congested roads, due to ever growing population, ever growing demand for passenger mobility and goods, especially in the mega cities, it is a great place to offer point-to-point movement of passengers in masses. India, a country that carries more than 1/7th of the entire global population, offers the required advanced technology and infrastructure to be in the forefront of advanced urban and regional aviation.”

Since announcing its eVTOL this year, Lyte has been approached by several companies that have shown interest in partnerships and pre-orders, according to Farzam. “We are currently in talks with very interesting markets, but when Vishok came with his vision for the Indian market, that was very impressive, yet, with a very feasible and solution-oriented approach that matches Lyte’s overall business strategies. I am looking for the right mindsets in partners and Vishok also shows courage, genius and glowing eyes for his company with a very clear strategy,” she said. Pictured is an artist’s image of the LA-44 SkyBus,