Vertical Aerospace, a UK developer of aircraft for future air taxi and other urban air mobility uses, is reporting even stronger than expected demand for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, with a major leasing client circling back for additional orders.
Vertical Aerospace announced Tuesday that aircraft leasing giant Avolon has already found clients for the 500 eVTOL VX4s planes it bought last June and is signing up for an additional 50 to keep pace with demand. That news came in the wake of Vertical Aerospace’s successful $300 million New York Stock Exchange flotation in December, and earlier activity including an exploratory partnership with Heathrow Airport to study air taxi services between the platform and central London.
Avolon, the world’s second-largest lessor of air vehicles, signed a deal to buy a whopping 500 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace in June worth $2 billion. Within nine months of that deal, the company had not only found clients wanting to operate all of those, but also an additional 50 craft that Avolon has optioned. That brings Vertical Aerospace’s conditional pre-order tally for the VX4 to $5.4 billion.
“Today marks an important milestone on our eVTOL journey, as we have now fully placed our VX4 order book with some of the leading international airlines and aviation companies all over the world,” said Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery in a joint statement. “The opportunities to deploy the VX4 are enormous and, as is evident with our placement progress to date, zero emissions eVTOL air travel will reshape the short-haul travel market.”
Just last month, Avolon said it had signed agreements to lease 100 of those craft to AirAsia. Today’s announcement was driven by Turkish aviation group Gözen Holding committing to up to 100 of Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL aircraft. It now joins previously committed airlines and other companies in the US, UK, Japan, Brazil, Greenland, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.
“We are delighted that Turkey has been added to the global destinations where the VX4 will fly,” cheered Vertical Aerospace CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick. “We look forward to welcoming Gözen into the Vertical family and continue to celebrate our growing partnership with Avolon.”
Vertical Aerospace says the piloted, four-passenger VX4 eVTOL craft will operate at speeds of up to 200 mph over a maximum 100-mile range. The emissions-free vehicle is touted to be nearly silent in flight. It also boasts a low per-passenger-mile cost that will limit prices for air taxi use close to those of existing ground options.
Clients include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberojet, Bristow Group, and Marubeni, in addition to Avolon.