Ireland-headquartered aircraft leasing company Avolon has, through its investment and innovation affiliate Avolon-e, partnered with Japan Airlines (JAL) in order to commercialise zero emissions eVTOL aircraft for ride sharing businesses in Japan. This arrangement also gives JAL the right to purchase or lease up to 50 Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon, with the option to purchase or lease up to 50 additional units.
Earlier this year Avolon placed a $2 billion order for up to 500 VA-X4s from British eVTOL manufacturer Vertical Aerospace, with delivery commencing in late 2024. These ultra-short haul aircraft will eventually sit alongside Avolon’s existing young and fuel-efficient fleet of Airbus and Boeing airliners.
Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery comments: “We continue to identify partners who share the same vision to revolutionise air travel through zero emissions eVTOL aircraft and shape the future of travel. This latest long term partnership with JAL aligns us with one of Japan's leading airlines on its journey to sustainability and to decarbonising air transport. The VA-X4 will be certified to CAA and EASA's stringent safety regulations. We believe JAL's multi-decade experience will prove invaluable as Vertical seeks type certificate validation with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, demonstrating that the VA-X4 will be a global eVTOL, unconstrained by borders.”
Japan Airlines managing executive officer Tomohiro Nishihata adds: “Today's announcement represents an important step towards the social implementation of air taxis at the Osaka Kansai Expo in 2025. Our partnership with Avolon lays out the pathway towards achieving an air mobility revolution in Japan. The introduction of the VA-X4 will also contribute to reducing our environmental impact and we fundamentally believe that sustainability will be the engine for future growth across our business and region.”
This comes less than a month after Avolon agreed a deal with Brazilian airline Gol and transport operator Grupo Comporte to commercialise an eVTOL ride sharing platform in Brazil. Both companies have between them committed to purchase or lease up to 250 VA-X4s.
The VA-X4 is a piloted, zero-emissions eVTOL vehicle capable of travelling over 200mph, with a range of over 100 miles and capacity for four passengers and a pilot. It should enter service in 2024.