UK-based Vertical Aerospace, an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) manufacturer backed by American Airlines, will reportedly go public through a merger with a blank-check firm in a deal valued at $2.2 billion deal.
Vertical Aerospace stated that it has pre-orders for up to 1,000 eVTOL aircraft from Ireland-based Avolon and American Airlines, as well as a pre-order option from Virgin Atlantic, totaling up to $4 billion.
“If you think about transportation strategically this is the next big frontier,” said Mr. Domhnal Slattery, Chief Executive Officer Avolon, the world’s third-largest aircraft leasing company.
“Whether it is airlines operating this as an add-on product or ride-sharing businesses in different jurisdictions, I think it is going to take a lot of different forms over time,” he added.
Investment in the zero-emission electric aircraft comes at a time when aviation companies are under mounting pressure from investors to help decarbonize the sector and improve their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores.
One significant concern, according to analysts, is how long it will take for the new electric aircraft to be certified by aviation authorities.
Last month, Europe’s top regulator said that the region’s first flying taxis might be operational as early as 2024. Following an agreement with Broadstone Acquisition, Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker ‘EVTL.’ In the second half of 2021, the deal is likely to close.
Vertical has received investments from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, and Rolls-Royce through private investment in public equity transactions, according to the company.
Vertical’s investors include tech giant Microsoft’s venture fund M12, investment manager 40 North, and venture capital firm Rocket Internet SE, the company said.