Vertical Aerospace Group, Ltd., the Bristol, UK-based eVTOL developer, and Eve Urban Air Mobility, LLC, the advanced air mobility (AAM) unit of Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer, added hundreds of new eVTOL aircraft conditional orders in September and October.
More Vertical Orders
On Sept. 21, Vertical Aerospace announced that Bristow Group — the Houston, Texas-based provider of global helicopter services — had pre-ordered 25 VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft with an option for an additional 25 aircraft. Then, on Sept. 22, Vertical Aerospace announced Marubeni Corporation, the Tokyo-based trading and investment company, had agreed to a conditional pre-order option of up to 200 Vertical aircraft. Under this agreement, Vertical and Marubeni will also begin evaluating the requirements for eVTOL aircraft operations in Japan. Current and existing commercial partnerships between Vertical and other companies include conditional pre-orders of up to 1,350 aircraft with a value of approximately $5.4B, according to Vertical.
In addition to Bristow and Marubeni, Vertical Aerospace has agreements with American Airlines, Avolon, Iberojet and Virgin Atlantic. On Sept. 21, Avolon, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing company, announced that it had partnered with GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, Brazil’s largest airline, and Grupo Comporte, a shareholder, to launch an eVTOL network in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with service beginning as soon as 2025.
In June, Avolon placed a conditional order for up to 500 VAX4 eVTOL aircraft, half of which will be committed to the new agreement with Gol and Grupo Comporte. According to Reuters, Avolon is already in discussions with customers in Asia for the remaining 250 aircraft it ordered from Vertical Aerospace in June. As this issue was going to press, the company announced that Japan Airlines (JAL) will lease or purchase up to 100 VA-X4 aircraft.
Amid its growing orderbook, Vertical says that it is confident in the progress it is making to certify the VA-X4 with aviation authorities in the UK and Europe. In a presentation to investors on Sept. 22 and reported in FlightGlobal, Paul Harper, head of certification at Vertical, said that the VA-X4’s maiden flight will occur in early 2022, a slight delay from previous projections of late 2021. Harper expects the VA-X4 will be certified — initially by the UK Civil Aviation Authority — by 2024.
Eve Adds Orders, Partners
Eve Urban Air Mobility secured an order for 100 aircraft from Aviation Management Services (Avantto), a Brazilian aircraft sharing company. In a press release on Oct. 4, Eve said that its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft will serve as the basis for a collaboration between the two companies on an AAM services network across Latin America. Although the company has to date not flown a prototype or even announced any plans to do so, it says that its first deliveries are to begin in 2026.
As of mid-October, customers had placed orders for up to 735 aircraft from Eve, according to a report in FlightGlobal. Avantto is the second Brazilian firm to order Eve eVTOL aircraft and follows an order for 50 aircraft from Helisul in June. On Aug. 30, Eve announced that it is working with aviation authorities in Brazil to develop an AAM concept of operations for Rio de Janeiro.
However, Eve’s ambitions are far from limited to Brazil, with several agreements spanning multiple continents in the works. On Aug. 11, Eve and Fahari Aviation, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, announced that the two companies would collaborate on an African AAM services network. On Aug. 23, Eve announced a partnership with Singapore-based Ascent Flights Global to bring AAM services to key cities across Asia, such as Bangkok and Manilla. Under the agreement, Eve will provide Ascent with up to “100,000 hours of flight time per year” on its eVTOL aircraft.
Then, on Sept. 2, Eve announced that it had partnered with Microflite, an Australian helicopter operator, to develop AAM services in Australia. Also beginning in 2026, the two companies will use helicopters to develop a proof of concept for future eVTOL operations. On Sept. 20, Eve announced a collaboration with Helipass, a France-based helicopter tourism company, to accelerate the deployment of eVTOL aircraft across Europe. The agreement covers 50,000 flight hours of Eve aircraft per year.
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