Vertical Aerospace and NATS — the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services — have released a white paper highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of Advanced Aerial Mobility and electric passenger flights.
Entitled The Future of Advanced Aerial Mobility, the white paper also features contributions from Vertical’s ecosystem partners Avolon and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Skyports and Heathrow Airport.
The document goes into detail about the improved connectivity and possible intercity routes that can open up the UK, with Vertical putting forward five examples of zero-emission flights, with each of them solving specific, real-world travel problems across the country. They include Liverpool to Hull, Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Belfast to Glasgow, Cardiff to Plymouth and Cambridge to Heathrow Airport.
To put some of these flights into context, a journey from Liverpool to Hull on Vertical’s VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft — which is on course to be certified by 2024 — would take 50 minutes, as opposed to taking more than two hours by car or three hours via train.
While a flight from Cambridge — the heart of the UK’s high-tech industry — to Heathrow Airport is expected to be a 28-minute flight at the estimated cost of £58 per passenger. This is in comparison to paying approximately more than £100 for a taxi which takes 90 minutes, or £52 for a train ticket but which takes nearly two hours.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of Vertical, said “The UK has an opportunity to be at the forefront of electric flight and the clear benefits it will bring in improving connectivity, productivity and creating highly-skilled jobs whilst lowering both congestion and carbon emissions. The UK needs to act now to grasp this prize. Our white paper seeks to engage those stakeholders that can be a part of our electric air mobility future.
“The UK can lead this transportation revolution. To build and maintain that lead we need government to support. Clear, pragmatic regulation, guaranteeing safety and encouraging rapid uptake.”
With a future transport solution enabled by eVTOL aircraft flying from existing airports, rural locations and new inner-city bases, Vertical has also called on the UK Government to take action to enable the country to seize the opportunities this new era of aviation will bring.
According to research in the Future Flight Road Map and Vision published in August 2021, government statistics show the advanced air mobility market will lift UK GDP by 1.8 per cent by 2030. Additionally, ADS has said 88 per cent of the UK’s aerospace jobs are located out of London and the South East of England, which shows this is a country-wide levelling up opportunity.
Vertical believes the UK and the devolved governments, city mayors, local authorities and regulators should commit to supporting commercial electric flight by 2025 if the UK wants to become a leader in this space and the emerging sustainable aviation industry. Many cities including Paris, Los Angeles, Osaka and Singapore have already committed to launching services before then.
Following on from its white paper, Vertical is calling for:
- A commitment for electric flight to be possible across the UK by 2025.
- A commitment from the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority to deliver a safe operating framework by 2024, to allow commercial electric flights above London, Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff, Bristol and other UK cities. This would include a route to aircraft certification, and reforms to airspace management, aviation security and flight access for electric flight operations, as well as frameworks for certifying, regulating and licensing vertiports, charging infrastructure and pilots.
- Incentivising and supporting the construction of electric aircraft assembly and gigafactories in UK regions by 2024 to allow this emerging sustainable aviation industry to establish itself in the UK.
Advanced air mobility is taking off worldwide, with Vertical already receiving up to 1,350 pre-orders for its VA-X4 aircraft worth an estimated $5.4 billion. Virgin Atlantic has pre-order options for 150 of these aircraft and plans to develop a short-haul eVTOL aircraft network with Vertical, which would look to connect UK airport hubs starting with London Heathrow as well as Manchester and London Gatwick.
Vertical is building its VA-X4 demonstrator in the UK with top-tier technical partners, including Rolls-Royce and GKN, as well as Honeywell, Microsoft and Solvay.
To read the white paper in full, click here.