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American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic order electric taxis from Vertical Aerospace

The startup revealed Thursday that it has pre-orders for up to 1,000 of its zero-emission VA-X4 vertical take-off planes, worth $ 4 billion, as it announced its intention to go public. in New York through a merger with blank check. Broadstone Acquisition Corp.

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.

American Airlines (AAL) has agreed to pre-order up to 250 planes, with an option for another 100. Dublin-based aircraft rental company Avolon has pre-orders and options for 500 aircraft, while Virgin Atlantic has a pre-order option for up to 150. Pre-orders are subject to certain conditions and milestones, including certification by aviation safety regulators.

“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.

Fitzpatrick founded Ovo Group, which owns the UK’s second largest energy retailer. Its mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make air travel “personal, on-demand and carbon-free” and the startup has former executives from Rolls Royce (RYCEF), Jaguar Land Rover and the UK Ministry of Defense among its engineering team.
that of Microsoft (MSFT) The venture capital affiliate and Rocket Internet have also invested in the business.
Vertical Aerospace hopes that the partnerships with Rolls-Royce and Honeywell (HON), among other things, will allow it to quickly obtain the same level of certification as large commercial aircraft from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and enable large-scale production. He expects commercial operations to begin in 2024.

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.


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