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Dublin-based Avolon to buy up to 500 ‘game-changing’ electric planes



Avolon, the Irish aircraft leasing company, has signed a $ 2 billion (1.6 billion) order for up to 500 electric planes from UK company Vertical Aerospace.

The agreement will introduce the ultra-short-haul aircraft category into commercial aviation and is seen as a revolutionary development that will revolutionize air travel with zero-emission aircraft.

The deal will leverage Avolons scale and industry relationships as one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies with Verticals’ technological position in the vertical take-off and landing space electrical (eVTOL). The companies will collaborate throughout the development, certification and subsequent commercial deployment of the VA-X4 aircraft.

The VA-X4 has a range of over 100 miles and a capacity for four passengers and one pilot. The aircraft takes off vertically, allowing it to operate in and out of cities and other confined spaces.

Avolon will join Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell and American Airlines as equity investors in Vertical, also working with Virgin Atlantic which will be a customer of the VA-X4 launch airline in Europe.

Avolon, through its newly incorporated subsidiary Avolon-e, will order aircraft valued at $ 1.25 billion with delivery beginning in late 2024, with an option to purchase additional aircraft up to a worth $ 750 million.

Short-haul electric airplanes carrying passengers or cargo are considered to be an important area of ​​rapid growth in the aviation industry. Last month, a group of companies announced a partnership with plans to develop Ireland’s first air taxi service to Shannon.

Shannon Group, Skyports, Future Mobility Campus Ireland and Avtrain plan to establish a passenger and cargo vertiport using drones with plans to begin operations next year.

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, air travel will be dramatically reshaped, with airlines having to embrace emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel. We strongly believe that the VA-X4 will lead this transformation, ”said Avolon CEO Dhnal Slattery.

“Before the end of this decade, we expect zero-emission urban air mobility, made possible by eVTOL, to play an increasingly important role in the global commercial aviation market. “

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical Aerospace, said Avolon has a strong track record of start-up and development, a global company that has made the deal an attractive opportunity and a milestone for the company.

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