Published on June 20th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer0
Avolon place US$2 Billion Order for eVTOL Aircraft
Dublin based aircraft lessor Avolon, along with Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines, have partnered with UK based Vertical Aerospace for the development of zero-emissions vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Avolon have concluded an agreement for 500 VA-X4 aircraft through their new subsidiary Avolon-e. The VA-X4 is a piloted, zero emissions aircraft capable of travelling at over 200mph, with a range of over 100 miles and capacity for 4 passengers, and a pilot. The aircraft takes off vertically enabling it to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations. It’s 100 times quieter and safer than a helicopter and will be certified by EASA and the UK CAA. The order is worth US$2 billion.
Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, commented: “Avolon is proud to be a launch customer for the VA-X4 aircraft, demonstrating our commitment to a net zero carbon economy and to driving innovation in the global aviation sector. Our order with Vertical will also accelerate the inevitable commercial roll-out of zero emissions aircraft. Before the end of this decade, we expect zero emission urban air mobility, enabled by eVTOLs, to play an increasingly important role in the global commercial aviation market.
This order reaffirms Avolon’s position as an industry pioneer. With Vertical, we will revolutionise air travel and continue to reduce the impact of our industry on the environment. In Vertical, we have identified a long-term strategic operator that shares our vision for a cleaner and more efficient mode of air transport. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel will be materially reshaped with airlines needing to embrace emerging technologies that decarbonise air travel. We strongly believe that the VA-X4 will lead this transformation.
Our global scale and deep industry relationships, combined with Vertical’s technological leadership makes this a winning alliance. We are excited about the synergies and opportunities that both businesses will bring to the agreement. We believe the global reach of the Avolon platform will accelerate the inevitable adoption of eVTOLs as a new, safe and zero emissions mode of ultra-short-haul air transport.”
Virgin Atlantic have options for 150 of the aircraft while American Airlines have pre-ordered 250 of the type. Vertical plans to conduct its first test flight of the VA-X4 later this year, with certification of the aircraft as early as 2024.