Vertical Aerospace, a British eVTOL manufacturer, and Marubeni Corporation, a leading Japanese integrated trading and investment business conglomerate have reached an agreement to explore Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) travel solutions focused on the application of Vertical’s flagship electric aircraft, the VA-X4 (earlier post), in the Japanese market. Marubeni has also agreed a conditional pre-order option of up to 200 of Vertical’s aircraft.
This partnership builds on existing commercial partnerships between Vertical and American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Iberojet and Bristow, who with Marubeni, have already collectively agreed conditional pre-orders for 1350 aircraft in total with a value of approximately $5.4 billion.
Vertical and Marubeni will now begin jointly evaluating the requirements for eVTOL aircraft operations in Japan as well as other commercial considerations such as route and network planning, infrastructure requirements and capacity, plus engaging other interested parties who can play a role in launching AAM in Japan.
With its technological and regulatory advantages, such as its capacity to operate high frequency eVTOL traffic in a safe environment, Japan has great potential when it comes to the commercialization of the AAM market. Marubeni believes that eVTOLs have a number of use cases in Japan, such as inter-city, intra-city, airport shuttle and life support operations, that will benefit both customers and communities.
Marubeni is expecting eVTOL operations to commence in 2025 and will utilize its existing aviation capabilities to maximize the quality of personal transportation.
Vertical is now working with partners in key locations around the world to establish AAM operations in markets where there is expected high demand for eVTOL operations. In the US, American Airlines plans to work with Vertical on passenger operations and infrastructure development. In the United Kingdom, Virgin Atlantic and Vertical plan to work together to explore the joint venture launch of a Virgin Atlantic branded short-haul eVTOL network, including operations and infrastructure development.
The VA-X4, Vertical’s flagship aircraft, is expected to be certified to the same standards as commercial airliners and is expected to be significantly safer and quieter than a helicopter. By combining its world-class team with a deliberately built ecosystem of top-tier partners, such as Microsoft, American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, and more, Vertical has assembled a broad mix of people and world class organisations with both commercial track records as well as experience testing, building and certifying some of the world’s most advanced aircraft.