Avolon may lease 100 Vertical aircraft from AirAsia

Budget airline giant AirAsia could lease at least 100 VX4 Evtol electric planes from Irish group Avolon.

The Dublin-based lessor said on Wednesday the Asian airline had signed a non-binding agreement to lease “a minimum” of 100 VX4 Evtol aircraft, made by new builder, Vertical Aerospace.

The Irish rental company has ordered 500 VX4s from Vertical, for a total value of 2 billion dollars (1.76 billion euros).

Avolon bought 5% of Vertical last year for $15 million. The Irish company joined Rolls-Royce, the industrial group Honeywell, American Airlines and Microsoft, as backers.

The battery-powered VX4 will carry four passengers for distances of up to 160 km instead of traveling by car or other means. The plane does not emit any greenhouse gases.

Founded by Irishman Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical hopes to start commercial production in 2024, after obtaining certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency.

It was floated on the New York Stock Exchange in December. Vertical is headquartered in Bristol, southern England, but is eyeing the Republic as a possible manufacturing base.

Certificate

Under the agreement with AirAsia, led by Tony Fernandes, Avolon’s subsidiary, Avolon-e, will work with the airline to achieve zero-emission aircraft certification and pursue opportunities.

The MoU with AirAsia means it has placed up to 90% of the aircraft.

Recently, Avolon confirmed that Japan Airlines could take up to 100 VX4s. He placed 250 with Gol and Grupo Comporte in Brazil.

Dómhnal Slattery, chief executive of Avolon, said the company looked forward to working with “aviation pioneer Tony Fernandes”.

Mr. Fernandes said Capital A, formerly AirAsia Group, was delighted to be the launch customer for the VX4 in Southeast Asia. Vertical’s chief executive, Mr. Fitzpatrick, welcomed the news.

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