Vertical Aerospace has announced that it has received pre-orders for up to 1,000 VA-X4 vertical takeoff aircraft. The Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer said that among those who have given pre-orders are American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. These companies have placed pre-orders with the intention of making urban air travel a reality. The startup is developing aircraft that are capable of electric vertical takeoff and landing. Also termed as eVTOL, these vehicles will play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. Though the main focus of the company is to improve the journey of passengers. The company said that combine pre-orders of it zero-emission aircraft are worth around USD 4 billion. The zero-carbon aircraft VA-X4 being developed by the company would be capable of carrying four passengers at a time. The company said that the aircraft will be capable of covering a distance of 100 miles.
While covering the distance, VA-X4 can achieve a speed of over 200 miles per hour. Also, the flight would be ‘near silent’. A prototype of the aircraft is under production. The company said it is hopeful of conducting the first test flight later this year. But getting all the required certifications may take some time. It could be completed by 2024. The helicopter-like electric aircraft can be a possible alternative to driving in the near future. It could also be a better way of intracity transpiration. The company also said that it is planning to go public in New York. It will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange via a merger with a blank check firm Broadstone Acquisition Corp.
In terms of pre-orders, American Airlines has announced that pre-order up to 250 aircraft. It can increase the order to up to 350. The pre-order by American Airlines alone would be worth around USD 1 billion. Apart from this, the airline is planning to make an investment of up to USD 25 million in the startup through private investment in a public equity transaction. Virgin Atlantic has pre-ordered up to 150 air taxis. However, these pre-orders are subject to certain conditions and agreed upon terms and milestones. Microsoft venture capital subsidiary and Rocket Internet too has shown keen interest in the startup. Commenting on it, Vertical Aerospace CEO and co-founder Stephen Fitzpatrick said that the aviation industry is witnessing of the most exciting times in a century. Fitzpatrick also said that electrification will certainly transform the way people see flying. Sustainability is also a focus for companies who have decided to invest in Vertical Aerospace. Several airlines have been taking measures in this direction. Experts believe that more and more airlines will invest in eVTOL space.