Vertical and Ferrovial electric flight infrastructure

  • November 8, 2021
  • William Payne

British electric aviation firm Vertical Aerospace is partnering Spanish infrastructure operator Ferrovial to cooperate on creating a network of 25 vertiports across the UK.

Vertical will now work with Ferrovial to locate and design a network of UK vertiports, which is expected to allow Vertical’s piloted four passenger aircraft, the VA-X4, to operate from these sites for the proposed launch of its UK services with Virgin Atlantic. By enabling inter-city electric aviation in the UK, the VA-X4 hopes to cut travel times and open up new links across the UK.

Vertiports are dedicated sites that enable the take-off, landing and recharging of electric vertical take-off and landing (“eVTOL”) aircraft. Vertiports are expected to be integrated with other modes of transport to offer efficient travel and increase connectivity to cities and regions across the UK.

Ferrovial will bring its operational capabilities, design expertise and investment strength to building a UK network of vertiports. Ferrovial invests, develops and operates 33 airports around the world, including in the UK being a shareholder of Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. Vertical is also collaborating with Heathrow to explore the launch of its services from the airport from the mid-2020s.

The VA-X4 is designed to provide eVTOL travel at speeds up to 200mph, in near silence and at a cost at a small premium to a taxi. Vertical expects the VA-X4 to be certified by 2024.

The VA-X4’s future operators include Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, JAL, Bristow Group, Gol, Marubeni and Iberojet, which along with others have placed conditional pre-orders for the VA-X4 of up to 1,350 units for an estimated $5.4bn.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of Vertical at Vertical, said “Our partnership with Ferrovial is an important step forward in bringing the VA-X4 to the skies. Creating the right infrastructure for zero emissions aviation is a critical part in making Urban Air Mobility a reality. I look forward to flying between Ferrovial’s vertiports in the VA-X4 in just a few years’ time.”

Kevin Cox, CEO of Ferrovial Vertiports, said “The partnership between vertiports and eVTOLs will provide high speed, affordable, emissions-free travel to millions of people. This network will boost local economies with a new model of regional connectivity.”