The VA-X4 will travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour and will be “almost silent” when in flight, according to the company. A prototype of the aircraft, which has a range of over 100 miles, is currently being produced, and the first test flight is planned for later this year.
“This is the most exciting time in aviation in almost a century,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and co-founder of Vertical Aerospace. “Electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way as the jet engine 70 years ago,” he added.
Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are facing increasing pressure to tackle carbon emissions. The pandemic has plunged aviation into its worst downturn and is expected to accelerate the transition to renewable energy as governments seize the opportunity to promote environmental recovery.
“Emerging technologies are crucial in the race to reduce carbon emissions, and we are excited 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 connect cities in the UK with airports such as London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
“With 37 cities with a population of over 100,000 within 100 miles of London’s Heathrow Airport, the VA-X4 offers huge potential to support zero-emission short-distance transfers for 7.7 million customers outside London,” the statement said. of Virgin Atlantic.
Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp, a special purpose vehicle (SPAC). The deal will value Vertical at $ 2.2 billion and is expected to close in the second half of this year.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Virgin Atlantic planned to make a test flight later this year. The test will be conducted by Vertical Aerospace.