Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of UK aerospace company Vertical Aerospace, said the company’s VA-X4 taxi plane will start operating in the mid-years. 2020.
Vertical is building a zero-emissions small plane that can carry four passengers over distances of up to 120 miles (193 km). The company intends to raise $394 million in a merger with a New York-listed “special purpose acquisition company” (SPAC).
American Airlines, aircraft leasing company Avolon, barcode technology supplier Honeywell and auto giant Rolls-Royce, as well as M12, the investment arm Microsoft Corporation, is investing in this merger, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who is also the founder of Britain’s third-largest energy retailer OVO Energy, said Vertical flights between Heathrow Airport and London’s financial hub Canary Wharf would take 15 minutes, at a cost £50 ($68) per passenger.
This potential has attracted the attention of many airlines. More than 1,000 VA-X4s have been pre-ordered by customers, showing interest in this zero-emission aircraft, at a time when airlines are under pressure from investors to contribute. decarbonization of the aviation sector.
The biggest challenge for Vertical is licensing the VA-X4, which Mr. Fitzpatrick predicts will happen by the end of 2024, with additional funding from the aforementioned merger. The VA-X4 is still under construction and will begin flight tests early next year.
The VA-X4 uses battery technology from the automotive industry and tested electric motors, with support from Honeywell electronics products. Therefore, Mr. Fitzpatrick believes that the VA-X4 will be licensed to fly. This authorization will be subject to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
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