The largest American air carrier – American Airlines Group – invests into the electric air transport of the future. The company has agreed to purchase at least 250 electric air taxis from British developer Vertical Aerospace Group. Among the investors in Vertical Aerospace are Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and the venture capital fund of Microsoft corporation, which gives hope that the serial production of aircraft will indeed be established.
Vertical Aerospace expects to begin commercial activity in 2024 after receiving all the permits and certificates of European regulatory bodies, but for now, the company’s prototypes of air taxi are conducting test flights. The greatest interest among investors is caused by the five-seater VA-X4 (one pilot and four passengers), the first tests of which are scheduled for the end of this year. The device promises to accelerate to 320 km / h and cover at least 160 km on a single battery charge.
Air taxi with the declared characteristics will be an ideal replacement for helicopters for short-distance flights within the city and suburbs. The noise from the working engines and propellers will be less, there will be no exhaust, the price of the trip will decrease, including due to the cheaper air taxi design compared to a helicopter.
An interest in Vertical Aerospace air taxi was also shown by the aircraft leasing company Avolon, which booked 310 air taxis for itself and is ready to buy 190 more cars later, as well as Virgin Atlantic, which expects to purchase from 50 to 150 air taxis. In addition to the supply of cars to American Airlines, the British are going to help the overseas partner in creating an infrastructure for organizing passenger transportation in the United States.
Investors are confident in the inevitable and relatively early appearance of new urban air transport, and an inexhaustible cash flow can turn a dream into reality.
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