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Flyinggroup makes a move on Vertical pre-orders
Flyinggroup has conditionally pre-ordered up to 50 VX4 aircraft, and American Airlines has confirmed delivery slots and the commitment of associated pre-delivery payments with Vertical Aerospace.
Flyinggroup’s pre-order moves Vertical’s customer base into the business aviation market.
Read this story in our August 2022 printed issue.

Europe-based operator Flyinggroup has conditionally pre-ordered up to 50 VX4 aircraft from Vertical Aerospace.

Flyinggroup began operations in Antwerp, Belgium in 1995 and operates from aircraft bases across Europe and the Middle East. Currently managing 45 conventional aircraft, this pre-order forms part of Flyinggroup's new approach to sustainable aviation, embedding zero emissions transport options into its fleet. The integration of the VX4 into existing services will provide its customers with a sustainable and efficient regional air mobility alternative and transform its first and last 100 mile journeys.

Founder Bernard Van Milders says: “Now that we’re also enabling flexible and energy-efficient regional travel, we are honoured to partner with Vertical’s team and its state-of-the-art aircraft. Going electric is the next big step in our sustainability plan. Not only will we be expanding our fleet with the most advanced electric eVTOLs; we will be able to accommodate our clients and guests with the newest zero-carbon 'door-to-door' private and business aviation. By connecting airports with cities and ports, Flyinggroup is bringing a new wave of business travel to corporations and individuals.”

The two companies have agreed to launch a joint working group to begin exploring Flyinggroup's application of using the VX4 in the business aviation market, including individual ownership, low volume operation and fractional ownership. The group will also explore the terms and conditions of an MRO service centre, potentially granting Flyinggroup the right to perform MRO services for its fleet and to support its private sales.

The piloted, zero operating emissions, four passenger VX4 is projected to be capable of travelling 100 miles at a top speed of 200 mph while producing minimal noise and with a low cost per passenger mile.

Vertical founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick says: “We are delighted to partner with Flyinggroup to change the way people travel throughout the business aviation market. With this provisional pre-order, Flyinggroup can look to a future where it can continue to provide quality to business clients, but now with zero emissions.”

Vertical has already sold its VX4 to a range of customers including aircraft lessors, airlines and helicopter operators, including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon and Bristow. This is Vertical’s first commercial agreement within the business aviation market, and increases its conditional pre-order book to up to 1,400 aircraft with a total value of $5.6 billion.

American Airlines has reserved delivery slots for the first 50 VX4 aircraft of its initial June 2021 conditional pre-order of up to 250 aircraft, with an option for an additional 100. The parties will build upon their existing joint working group to collaborate on a framework to explore the future of advanced air mobility and prepare for the VX4's entry into service.

The commitment to make pre-delivery payments and confirmation of slot reservations for the first 50 aircraft is believed to be the first of its kind for a major airline in the eVTOL industry.

“Our partnership with Vertical is a great example of progress in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions throughout our airline and the industry,” says American Airlines’ chief financial officer Derek Kerr. “We have made great strides in simplifying our fleet with newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft, and are proud to take part in another step toward the development of advanced air mobility.”

Fitzpatrick adds: “We are delighted to have reached this major milestone with American Airlines on our eVTOL partnership. Together, we are making zero-emissions flight a reality for passengers travelling all over the world. We look forward to continuing our work with American and seeing the first red, white and blue VX4 come off the production line.”

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