Flying taxi company Vertical Aerospace has signed a partnership with Heathrow Airport to explore how its VA-X4 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle could operate from Heathrow by the mid-2020s.
The agreement between Heathrow and Vertical is a significant milestone for Britain's zero-emissions aviation industry. Both parties will work closely to explore how this new technology can fit into existing operations at the airport, build understanding of the regulatory changes that would be required, maximise potential job opportunities and minimise any potential impacts on communities surrounding the airport.
With speeds of up to 200mph, Vertical's piloted eVTOL will be able to transport four passengers in near silence from Heathrow to the City of London in 12 minutes, with zero operating emissions and at a cost similar to a taxi. This new agreement comes as interest in the future of urban air mobility is growing, with major airlines already operating at Heathrow keen to see the technology develop. Virgin Atlantic has already announced a partnership for the UK launch of an eVTOL network with Vertical and conditional pre-order options for up to 150 VA-X4s.
By working together, Vertical and Heathrow expect to help Britain maintain its leading position in sustainable aviation technologies and support moves to a low carbon economy to help meet the Government's net zero ambitions to make the UK net zero by 2050.
Vertical's top-tier global customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow Group, Iberojet and Marubeni Corporation. Through these relationships, Vertical says it has the largest conditional pre-order book in the eVTOL industry, of up to 1,350 aircraft worth $5.4 billion.
The company’s eVTOL aims to be an industry leader in safety, being on track to be certified to the highest global standards and matching the safety performance of airline passenger jets.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of Vertical, said: "Vertical continues to partner with world leading organisations such as Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Bristow Group and Microsoft. This partnership is a big step forward as we try to get the UK to Net Zero by 2050. This announcement marks the start of an exciting relationship that will help make eVTOLs flying from Heathrow by the mid-2020s a reality."