AirAsia and Air Greenland have both committed to purchasing or leasing a fleet of Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon, the world’s second largest aircraft lessor. In June 2021, Avolon ordered 500 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical, valued at US $2 billion. Since announcing that order, Avolon placed 250 VX4 aircraft with Gol and Grupo Comporte in Brazil, up to 100 aircraft with Japan Airlines in Japan, and a minimum of 100 aircraft with AirAsia. Avolon has now placed up to 90% of its initial orderbook, underlining the demand for VX4 aircraft from the world’s leading airlines.
AirAsia plans to lease a minimum of 100 of Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 from Avolon. The leasing arrangement through Avolon is the first pre-order of Vertical’s aircraft since the manufacturer listed on the NYSE in December 2021. More recently, Avolon and Air Greenland announced that they will partner to form a Working Group to assess the opportunity to commercialize zero-emissions air travel in the region. The Working Group will also collaborate to identify local infrastructure and certification requirements for eVTOL aircraft.
The VX4 is a piloted, four-passenger, zero operating emissions electric VTOL aircraft that is projected to fly at speeds of up to 200mph, over a 100-mile range. The VX4 is expected to be near silent in flight, and with a low cost per passenger mile, it will be an affordable option for travelers with a cost at a slight premium over ground-based taxi services.
Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon commented on March 22, 2022: “Since our initial order, we have seen airlines all over the world make a commitment to the zero emissions travel by selecting the VX4 aircraft as the first step in their decarbonisation journey. Today’s announcement with Air Greenland means we are taking zero-emissions travel to where climate change is having its most pronounced impact. We look forward to working with Air Greenland to bringing the zero-operating emission VX4 aircraft to where it matters the most.”
Why it’s important: AirAsia and Air Greenland join Japan’s JAL and Brazil’s Gol in agreeing to leases for the VX4 from Avolon. This further extends Vertical Aerospace’s global reach for its electric aircraft, into Southeast Asia and Europe, with pre-orders already directly agreed upon for up to 1,350 aircraft in total from American Airlines, Avolon, Virgin Atlantic, Iberojet, Bristow Group, and Marubeni.
Source // Vertical Aerospace press release