Vertical Aerospace has announced an agreement with global infrastructure operator Ferrovial, to cooperate on creating a network of 25 vertiports across the UK.
Vertiports are dedicated sites that enable the take-off, landing and recharging of eVTOL aircraft. They are expected to be integrated with other modes of transport to offer efficient travel and increase connectivity to cities and regions across the UK.
Both companies will now work with Ferrovial to locate and design a network of UK vertiports, which is expected to allow Vertical’s piloted four passenger aircraft, the VA-X4, to operate from these sites for the proposed launch of its UK services with Virgin Atlantic.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of Vertical at Vertical, said: “Our partnership with Ferrovial is an important step forward in bringing the VA-X4 to the skies. Creating the right infrastructure for zero emissions aviation is a critical part in making Urban Air Mobility a reality. I look forward to flying between Ferrovial’s vertiports in the VA-X4 in just a few years’ time.”
By enabling inter-city electric aviation in the UK, the VA-X4 hopes to cut travel times and open up new links across the UK. In Vertical’s recent white paper ‘The Future of Advanced Aerial Mobility‘, it explains how passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport could take the VA-X4 to hop to Cambridge from the airport in just 28 minutes. This trip is compared with a 90-minute taxi or a two-hour train journey.
Ferrovial will bring its operational capabilities, design expertise and investment strength to building a compelling UK network of vertiports. Ferrovial invests, develops and operates 33 airports around the world and is a shareholder of Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.
This announcement follows on from Vertical also announcing this week that is collaborating with Heathrow to explore the launch of its services from the airport from the mid-2020s.
Kevin Cox, CEO of Ferrovial Vertiports, said: “The partnership between vertiports and eVTOLs will provide high speed, affordable, emissions-free travel to millions of people. This network will boost local economies with a new model of regional connectivity.”
Vertical’s focus is the design, build, manufacture and aftersales of its VA-X4. Vertical works closely with an ecosystem of best-in-class partners and operators to give passengers the best experience possible travelling in its aircraft at speeds up to 200mph, in near silence and at a cost at a small premium to a taxi.
Vertical is targeting highest global safety certification standards for the VA-X4 in line with the CAA and EASA expected regulations, equivalent to that a passenger jet. It expects to be certified by 2024.
The VA-X4’s future operators include Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, JAL, Bristow Group, Gol, Marubeni and Iberojet, which along with others have placed conditional pre-orders for the VA-X4 of up to 1,350 units for an estimated $5.4 billion.