American Airlines agrees to purchase 50 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace

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American Airlines has pledged to prepay 50 electric vertical take-off and landing, or eVTOL, planes with Vertical Aerospace as part of a conditional pre-order of up to 250 planes, with an option for another 100, the airlines announcement the 15th of July. UK-based Vertical Aerospace was formed in 2016 and plans to deliver its VX4 aircraft in 2025.

“Our partnership with Vertical is a great example of progress in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions across our airline and industry,” US Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said in a press release.

American Airlines’ commitment to pre-delivery payments and confirmation of slot reservations for the first 50 VX4 aircraft is considered the first of its kind for a major airline in the eVTOL space, the companies said. Last year, United Airlines agreed to collaborate with Archer Aviation on the development of battery-powered short-haul aircraft and to purchase up to 200 eVTOL aircraft with Mesa Airlines.

Vertical’s piloted VX4 aircraft can carry four passengers at ranges of over 100 miles.

A Deloitte report released in June predicted that eVTOL aircraft fly in commercial service by 2024 and could become widespread in the 2030s.

American interest in vertical aerospace began with a $25 million investment announced a year ago. In the announcement, the airline said Vertical’s eVTOL aircraft “could potentially quickly transport customers through urban city centers and to airports.”

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