Vertical Aerospace said it has pre-orders for up to 1,000 eVTOL aircraft with launch customers Avolon and American Airlines, as well as a pre-order option from Virgin Atlantic, all valued at $ 4 billion.
“If you think strategically about transportation, this is the next big frontier,” Domhnal Slattery, managing director of Avolon, the world’s third-largest aircraft rental company, told Reuters.
“Whether it’s airlines operating this as a companion product or ridesharing companies in different jurisdictions, I think it’s going to take many different forms over time. “
The investment in the zero-emission electric aircraft comes at a time when airlines are under increasing pressure from investors to help decarbonize the sector and improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores.
Analysts say a key question is how long it will take for the new electric aircraft to be certified by aviation authorities.
The main European regulator said last month that the region could see the first flying taxis enter service as early as 2024.
Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “EVTL”, following an agreement with Broadstone Acquisition. The agreement is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2021.
American Airlines and Avolon, along with Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, have invested in Vertical through a private investment in a private equity transaction, the company said.
Microsoft’s M12 venture capital fund, investment manager 40 North and venture capital firm Rocket Internet SE are also among Vertical’s investors, the company said.