American Airlines has announced it is to invest in Vertical Aerospace, a UK-based engineering and aeronautical company that is developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
According to a press release, the carrier is aiming to demonstrate its commitment to focusing on emerging technologies to reduce carbon emissions and investing in innovative ways to help improve the customer journey.
As part of the investment, American Airlines has agreed to pre-order up to 250 of Vertical’s aircraft, which represents a potential pre-order commitment of $1 billion (£720 million), and an option to order an additional 100 aircraft.
The airline also expects to make a $25 million investment in Vertical through private investment in public equity (PIPE) transactions.
Vertical is developing the VA-X4, a zero-carbon aircraft that can carry four passengers and a pilot, and fly at speeds up to 200 mph over a range of over 100 miles. These aircraft could potentially transport customers quickly around urban city centres and to airports.
Vertical plans to conduct its first test flight of the VA-X4 later this year, with certification of the aircraft as early as 2024.
“Emerging technologies are critical in the race to reduce carbon emissions and we are excited to partner with Vertical to develop the next generation of electric aircraft,” said Derek Kerr, chief financial officer at American.
“For years, American has led the industry in investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. This partnership is another example of that commitment and an investment in the future of air mobility.”
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