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Heathrow & Vertical to develop Urban Air Mobility
- October 27, 2021
- William Payne
Electrical aviation startup Vertical Aerospace has begun a collaboration with Heathrow Airport to explore how Vertical’s VA-X4 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle could operate from Heathrow by the mid-2020s.
The two organisations will explore how eVTOL aircraft can fit into existing operations at the airport and build understanding of the regulatory changes that would be required. They will also look at how to increase job opportunities at the airport while minimising potential impacts on communities surrounding the airport.
Vertical’s piloted eVTOL will be able to transport four passengers in near silence from Heathrow to the City of London in 12 minutes, reaching speeds of 200 mph. The cost will be similar to that currently charged by taxis.
According to the partners, major airlines already operating at Heathrow are keen to see urban air mobility 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.
Vertical’s customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow Group, Iberojet and Marubeni Corporation.
The company claims it has the largest conditional pre-order book in the eVTOL industry, of up to 1,350 aircraft worth $5.4bn. Vertical’s eVTOL aims to be an industry leader in safety. The company says its aircraft is 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.”
Chris Annetts, Chief Strategy Officer of Heathrow, said “We are delighted to be partnering with Vertical, a global champion in emissions-free aviation. 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. We look forward to exploring the possibilities of zero-emissions flight together.”
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said “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. 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”.