Vertical Aerospace, Heathrow Airport to Partner on UAM

Agreement aims to measure potential impacts of eVTOL aircraft and how they’ll fit in the aviation landscape.

Vertical Aerospace and Heathrow Airport have announced a collaboration to pioneer zero-emission electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) transportation from the U.K.’s busiest airport.

The agreement between the two will serve as a huge step for Britain’s zero-emissions aviation industry, where findings will help determine how exactly eVTOLs will fit into the current aviation infrastructure, including regulatory changes and potential impacts to surrounding communities.

“This partnership is a big step forward as we try to get the UK to Net Zero by 2050,” said Vertical founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick in a statement. “[It] marks the start of an exciting relationship that will help make eVTOLs flying from Heathrow by the mid-2020s a reality.”

Vertical is developing the VA-X4, a piloted eVTOL aircraft, capable of reaching speeds of more than 200 mph. The passenger aircraft is expected to be 100 times quieter than a cruising helicopter with a range of over 100 miles. Vertical plans to transport customers from Heathrow to London in just one 12-minute flight.

“This emerging technology has the potential to reduce congestion and pollution on local roads, while providing passengers with a best-in-class experience on the cutting edge of modern technology,” said Heathrow Chief Strategy Officer Chris Annetts.

Vertical says it has taken pre-orders from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, and more.

“Today’s new partnership between Vertical Aerospace and Heathrow Airport is an exciting next step on the pathway to creating the infrastructure needed to support eVTOL operations at our Heathrow hub,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss. “We look forward to working closely with both Vertical and London Heathrow to transform the first and last 100-mile journey of passengers travelling through Heathrow.”

Vertical is expected to be the fourth eVTOL company to go public this year, following an upcoming merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp. The transaction, which may close by the end of the year, has anticipated gross proceeds of $394 million and a pro forma equity value of $2.2 billion.

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