The VA-X4 will travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour and will be “nearly silent” in flight, according to the company. The aircraft has a range of over 100 miles.
“This is the most exciting time in aviation for nearly a century,” Vertical Aerospace CEO and co-founder Stephen Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “Electrification will transform flight in the 21st century the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago,” he added.
Airlines and planners are under increasing pressure to tackle carbon emissions. The pandemic has plunged aviation into its worst slump and is expected to accelerate the transition to renewable forms of energy, as governments use the opportunity to promote a green recovery.
“Emerging technologies are essential in the race to reduce carbon emissions and we are delighted to partner with Vertical to develop the next generation of electric aircraft,” said Derek Kerr, Chief Financial Officer of American Airlines.
The world’s largest airline plans to work with Vertical on passenger operations and infrastructure development in the United States.
In the UK, Virgin Atlantic is exploring a regional network to link UK cities to airports such as London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
“With 37 towns and villages of over 100,000 inhabitants within a 160 km radius of London Heathrow Airport, the VA-X4 offers enormous potential to support zero-emission short-haul transfers for 7.7 million. customers outside of London, “Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.
Virgin Atlantic is planning its first test flight for later this year.
Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). The deal will value Vertical at $ 2.2 billion and is expected to be finalized in the second half of this year.