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Vertical attracts new customer, increases pre-order book to 1,400 eVTOL aircraft

As Vertical Aerospace inches closer to when it hopes to launch commercial operations in 2025, the U.K. eVTOL developer has secured another pre-order from a European business jet operator, bringing its total pre-order book to 1,400 aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace
FlyingGroup, a European business jet operator, has conditionally pre-ordered up to 50 of Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL aircraft. This new partnership will expand Vertical’s customer base to include the business aviation market. Vertical Aerospace Image

The startup’s four-passenger VX4 eVTOL aircraft has attracted the attention of FlyingGroup, which has conditionally pre-ordered up to 50 of Vertical’s aircraft. The new partnership will expand Vertical’s customer base to include the business aviation market.

“We are delighted to partner with FlyingGroup to change the way people travel throughout the business aviation market,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace. “With this provisional pre-order, FlyingGroup can look to a future where they can continue to provide quality to business clients — but now with zero emissions.”

FlyingGroup intends to add Vertical’s aircraft to its existing fleet, which includes 45 conventional aircraft. With projected top speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 kilometer per hour), FlyingGroup said the VX4 aircraft will be used to provide its customers with an alternative regional air mobility experience, carrying out the first and last 100 miles (160 kilometers) of their journey.

“Going electric is the next big step in our sustainability plan. Not only will we be expanding our fleet with the most advanced electric VTOLs, we will be able to accommodate our clients and guests with the newest zero-carbon ‘door-to-door’ private and business aviation,” said Bernard Van Milders, founder of FlyingGroup. “By connecting airports with cities and ports, FlyingGroup is bringing a new wave of business travel to corporations and individuals.”

With this new partnership, Vertical said its pre-order book is now valued at around $5.6 billion. The company’s other prospective buyers include aircraft lessors, airlines, and helicopter operators — notably American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon and Bristow.

The U.K. eVTOL company also recently announced that it has secured a pre-delivery payment commitment from American Airlines, confirming delivery slots for 50 aircraft.  

In June 2021, American Airlines placed a conditional pre-order of up to 250 VX4s, with the option of 100 more. The companies said they believe this commitment to pay pre-delivery payments and confirm slot reservations for the first 50 aircraft is “the first of its kind for a major airline in the eVTOL industry.”

“Our partnership with Vertical is a great example of progress in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions throughout our airline and the industry,” said Derek Kerr, chief financial officer of American Airlines. “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.”

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