WEAF Members Vertical Aerospace and Virgin Atlantic explore ‘flying taxi’ partnership

Published on: 14th June 2021

Virgin Atlantic is exploring whether it could launch a flying taxi service as part of a partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace.
The airline suggests electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could fly from towns to major airports.
Vertical Aerospace is conducting test flights of its aircraft this year.

What is the idea?
Virgin Atlantic’s has proposed that an eVTOL aircraft could pick people up from a city such as Cambridge and fly them to a major airport such as London Heathrow.
Vertical Aerospace says its VA-X4 craft will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot up to 100 miles, as well as being emissions-free and quieter than a helicopter.

Is it feasible?
“There’s a lot of hype in this market,” Vertical Aerospace president Michael Cervenka told the BBC.
“We have taken the approach that is pushing the bounds of what is available in terms of technology, but not going beyond.”
With a 15m (49ft) wingspan, the aircraft would have to fly to and from designated spots such as helipads or regional airports.
As with any other aircraft, the VA-X4 will be subjected to strict safety and regulatory checks.
WEAF’s CEO Colin Turner commented “ It is fantastic that as a SW based company and WEAF member Vertical Aerospace is developing a game changing product. We know that the Virgin Organisation invests in leading aerospace technologies and this is a big boost for Vertical Aerospace and the SW.
WEAF looks forward to working with and supporting Vertical Aerospace, as the company considers the development of a UK & SW based production capability and supply chain.”