UAV Japan Airlines and Avolon partner up to create eVTOL operations

Japan Airlines has partnered up with leasing company Avolon to create an electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) business.

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With the aim to commercialize zero-emission flight operations using eVTOL aircraft, Japan Airlines and international aircraft leasing company Avolon have signed a partnership to create a new network of sustainable aviation operations in the country.

Japan Airlines has selected Vertical Aerospace´s VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon´s existing orderbook with the British aerospace manufacturer. According to the leasing company, JAL is eligible to either purchase or lease up to 50 VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft through Avolon.

The VA-X4 was unveiled in 2020 and entry into service of these newly ordered aircraft could be for the Osaka Kansai EXPO, which is expected to take place in 2025. Vertical Aerospace claims, that the VA-X4 is capable of travelling over 200 mph with a range of over 100 nautical miles. Four passengers can be accommodated.

Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, said: “This latest long-term partnership with JAL aligns us with one of Japan’s leading airlines on their journey to sustainability and to decarbonizing 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.”

If successful, this latest agreement could pave the way for the first eVTOL ride sharing business in Japan. With the Greater Tokyo Aera, in which around 40 million people live on 13,500 km2, transportation has to be re-designed through and innovative and environmentally friendly approach.

Tomohiro Nishihata, Managing Executive Officer of Japan Airlines, confirmed:“The introduction of VA-X4 will also contribute to reduce our environmental impact and we fundamentally believe that sustainability will be the engine for future growth across our business and region. We look forward to collaborating closely with Avolon and Vertical on the roadmap to certification for the VA-X4 with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.”

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical CEO, concluded: “The VA-X4 will transform how we travel. We are delighted to be working with Avolon and our newest partner Japan Airlines as we bring zero-emissions aircraft to the Japanese market. JAL’s experience will strengthen the certification roadmap in Japan demonstrating our global view as we make eVTOLs a reality.”

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