American Airlines and leading British aerospace manufacturer Vertical Aerospace have jointly confirmed the incoming delivery of 50 VX4 electric Vertical and Take Off Landing (eVTOL) aircraft after securing the pre-delivery payment commitment. 

Electronic flight is coming to American

eVTOL aircraft uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically. 

On 10 June 2021, major U.S carrier American Airlines placed a conditional pre-order for up to 250 VX4 eTVOL aircraft. The carrier announced at the time that it would be investing $25 million dollars in British company Vertical Aerospace. On the same day, British-based carrier Virgin Atlantic announced that it has purchased 50 – 150 eVTOL aircraft and will explore the possibility of a Joint Venture with Vertical Aerospace in the future. 

In a day, Vertical Aerospace became a key player in the eVTOL market and generated excitement and hope for the potential eVTOL technology has as the future of air travel. 

Now, as of this Friday, Vertical Aerospace announced that American Airlines has confirmed the delivery slots and their commitment to relevant pre-delivery payments to add 50 VX4 eVTOL aircraft to its fleet. 

In its statement, the company states that the two parties will “build upon their existing joint working group to collaborate on a framework to explore the future of advanced air mobility and prepare for the VX4’s entry into service.” 

The agreement is also believed to be the first of its kind for a major airline in the eVTOL industry. While over the past couple of years, several different eVTOL companies have announced approximately 4,500 “orders” with various clients, these orders are more akin to commitments rather than the conventional order. 

This latest development presents a huge milestone for Vertical Aerospace too as the Bristol-based company will gain credibility for this project after finally receiving concrete orders as opposed to just commitments, like the one with Virgin Atlantic

VX4 Vertical Aerospace Virgin Atlantic
According to Virgin Atlantic, the partnership between them and Vertical Aerospace included an option to purchase up to 150 eVTOL aircraft. | © Vertical Aerospace

The company also announced that FLYINGROUP, one of Europe’s leading business jet operators, has conditionally pre-ordered a maximum of 50 VX4 aircraft too. 

Stephen Fitzpatrick is the Founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace. He was, undoubtedly, pleased to present this announcement to the public:

“We are delighted to have reached this major milestone with American Airlines on our eVTOL partnership. Together, we are making zero-emissions flight a reality for passengers travelling all over the world. We look forward to continuing our work with American and seeing the first red, white and blue VX4 come off the production line.”

American’s Chief Financial Officer, Derek Keer, also commented on the exciting new partnership:

“Our partnership with Vertical is a great example of progress in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions throughout our airline and the industry. We have made great strides in simplifying our fleet with newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft, and are proud to take part in another step toward the development of advanced air mobility.”

What is the VX4?

Vertical Aerospace unveiled the all-electric commercial aircraft in August 2020 and expects to undertake its first flight in 2024. 

According to Vertical, the VX4 is projected to be capable of transporting a pilot and a maximum of 4 passengers over distances of over 100 miles. The aircraft will be able to reach top speeds of over 200 mph all while producing minimal noise and zero emissions. 

Vertical Aerospace has sold over 1,400 eVTOL aircraft and pre-orders totalling a decent $5.6 billion dollars. The company itself was founded in 2016 by the founder of British major energy supplier OVO Energy, Stephen Fitzpatrick. 

In 2021, the company partnered with Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace. The company has also partnered with heavyweights Honeywell, Microsoft and Leonardo. 

What do you make of American’s purchase of 50 eVTOL aircraft to its fleet? Do you see big things in Vertical Aerospace’s future? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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