UK Leasing

Vertical Aerospace eVTOL plant auction race as actions begin


December 17 (Reuters) – As the flying taxi market takes off, the race is on to decide where future vehicles will be built with one of the backers of newly listed Vertical Aerospace – Irish leasing boss Domhnal Slattery – pushing for a manufacturing base in Ireland.

Shares of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft maker, backed by investors such as Slattery’s Avolon aircraft leasing company and American Airlines (AAL.O), rose sharply when they debuted on the market Friday after a blank merger valued at $ 2.2 billion.

Unlike many other entrants to the increasingly busy eVTOL market, Vertical Aerospace focuses solely on design, manufacture and services rather than ridesharing operations, sparking an auction race to make work safer. production facilities – and the highly skilled jobs that go with it.

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It has reported pre-orders of up to 1,350 planes worth $ 5 billion from customers including American and Virgin Atlantic.

“We have been in discussions with a number of different governments about where we could build the production facility. Domhnal is very keen that we take him to Ireland,” said founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick after speaking. rang the opening bell in New York.

Although the Republic of Ireland is a global aviation finance hub, it is not home to any major aerospace manufacturing. A factory would help the government achieve two of its goals: boost its green technology sector and diversify away from investments dependent on the country’s low corporate tax rate.

“I would love to see it in Ireland. I think it would be a fantastic place. The UK is just as attractive and even other jurisdictions,” Slattery told Reuters in an interview.

Bristol in the UK, where Vertical Aerospace is based, has thousands of aerospace engineers and the discussion over the location of the plant is “speculative,” Fitzpatrick said.

Even once a decision is made on where to build the vehicles, analysts warn that a key question is how long it will take for new electric planes to be certified by aviation authorities.

Vertical Aerospace is targeting 2024 and plans to put a dedicated certification vehicle into service in the coming weeks.

“We’re scheduled for the end of 2024; we’re giving ourselves a window of 2024-2025,” Fitzpatrick told Reuters.

“The main challenge we have is to certify the aircraft, there is no doubt about that,” he said, adding that partners such as Rolls-Royce (RR.L) and Honeywell would take care of key components. .

“We’re going to have these planes flying over cities around the world in no less than three years but no more than five.”

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Reporting by Tim Hepherd; Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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