• Joe Breitfeller

American Airlines to Invest in UK-Based Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL Aircraft Development

American Airlines will invest in the future of urban air mobility with UK-based Vertical Aerospace. The company is developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and American has agreed to pre-order up to 250 aircraft valued at $1 billion.


Rendering of the Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 eVTOL Aircraft on a Rooftop Landing Pad - Courtesy American Airlines/Vertical Aerospace

On Thursday (June 10, 2021), American Airlines announced that they will invest in the future of urban air mobility with UK-based firm Vertical Aerospace. Vertical is currently developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. As part of the agreement, American Airlines has agreed to pre-order, subject to certain milestones and conditions, up to 250 aircraft valued at $1 billion, with an option for an additional 100 aircraft. The airline also expects to make a $25 million investment in Vertical Aerospace through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction. Vertical Aerospace is currently developing the VA-X4 aircraft, which will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot at speeds of up to 200 mph with a range of over 100 miles.

In Thursday’s announcement, American Airlines’ Chief Financial Officer, Derek Kerr, said,


“Emerging technologies are critical in the race to reduce carbon emissions and we are excited to partner with Vertical to develop the next generation of electric aircraft. For years, American has led the industry in investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Today’s partnership is another example of that commitment, and an investment in the future of air mobility. We are excited about the prospect of what this could mean for our customers, and our company.”


Also commenting on the new partnership, Vertical Aerospace’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Fitzpatrick, said,


“This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago. As we all work towards a future beyond fossil fuels, we are delighted to be partnering with American Airlines. We share their passion for innovation and excellence and believe that by working together we will help make carbon free flight a reality for millions of passengers.”


Renderings of Vertical Aerospace's VA-X4 eVTOL Aircraft - Courtesy American Airlines


In the future, eVTOL aircraft could potentially transport customers around urban city centers and to airports. Vertical Aerospace plans on conducting their first VA-X4 test flight later this year and hopes to have the aircraft certified for passenger service as early as 2024. Vertical has a top-tier partner ecosystem and is backed by American Airlines, Avolon, Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, among others. The VA-X4, will be nearly silent in flight, produce zero emissions and deliver a low cost per passenger mile, opening urban air mobility to a whole new range of passengers.



Source(s): American Airlines, Vertical Aerospace