Moller International Thursday announced a potential deal with Athena Technologies to "establish co-production" for its vertical takeoff and landing aircraft "in the US and the People's Republic of China," but questions remain. According to Moller, the deal will see the companies "jointly produce numerous models" of Moller's Skycar designs "by 2014" and is backed by an initial $80 million as part of a planned $480 million investment. The deal must now be approved by both parties, according to the news release. Moller's Skycar has been in development for decades. Athena may be just as interesting.
Athena Technologies is made up of "US private equity funds and credit guarantee companies," according to the news release. Its chairman, John Gong, is "Vice-Director of the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and Vice-President of the China Economic Trade Promotion Agency (CETPALA)," according to Moller's news release. A website for CCPIT appears to include only a list of "recent events" from the year 2007. CETPALA's website includes a "Seminars and Activities" page that is "coming soon" and a "Discussion Board" that was "currently unavailable" Friday. The release says that the partnership would allow Moller to retain intellectual property rights while providing "the requirements for the airframe and flight control system hardware to be produced in China." Moller has been developing versions of its Skycar for more than three decades.