Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with Vertical Aerospace includes purchase of up to 150 eVTOL aircraft and a joint venture
Virgin Atlantic has announced a partnership with Vertical Aerospace, which develops electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The partnership includes an opportunity for Virgin Atlantic to acquire up to 150 eVTOL aircraft and a UK joint venture with Vertical Aerospace to provide short-haul eVTOL services under the Virgin Atlantic brand.
As we previously reported, the eVTOL VA-X4 is a manned electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft designed for four passengers and a pilot. The flight range is 160 km, the speed is over 320 km / h. Due to vertical takeoff and landing, as well as relatively low noise level, the device is well suited for use in cities.
According to preliminary information, short-distance flights will be organized between cities and adjacent airports, starting from Manchester and London Heathrow and Gatwick. This is expected to provide significant time savings on the final leg of flights. For example, the 90-kilometer journey from Cambridge to London Heathrow Airport will take 22 minutes compared to the current 1.5-hour road trip. The partners believe that with 37 localities with a population of more than 100,000 concentrated within a 160 km radius of London Heathrow Airport, the VA-X4 has great potential.
As a launch partner in the UK, Virgin Atlantic has the ability to order 50 to 150 aircraft. This is an unconfirmed order, and as development of the aircraft is still ongoing, the final cost of the order has yet to be confirmed.
A full-scale prototype VA-X4 is currently in production with a first test flight scheduled for later this year. The VA-X4 is slated to go into commercial operation in 2024, following certification by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).