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New Virgin Atlantic partnership could launch flying taxis in UK

Virgin Atlantic has partnered with Vertical Aerospace to pioneer sustainable and zero emissions short-haul air travel in the UK.

Virgin Atlantic has partnered with Vertical Aerospace to pioneer sustainable and zero emissions short-haul air travel in the UK.

Strap yourself in because this could be the future of short-haul travel.

The new partnership between Virgin Atlantic and Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace includes an option for the airline to purchase up to 150 eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft and exploration of a UK Joint Venture with Vertical Aerospace, to deliver a Virgin Atlantic branded short-haul eVTOL network.

The  fully-electric VA-X4 is a zero-emissions, near-silent aircraft with a range of over 100 miles and it will carry four passengers in addition to a pilot.

The VA-X4 has four tilting advanced rotors at the front and stowable rotors at the rear, capable of speeds over 200mph, and is set to revolutionise urban mobility and electrify air travel, with certification to the same safety standards as commercial airliners.

Vertical Aerospace and Virgin Atlantic have said they seek to establish short-haul, electric aircraft connectivity between UK cities and airport hubs starting with London Heathrow, Manchester and London Gatwick.

The goal is to enable sustainable, price competitive, regional connectivity across the first and last 100 miles of the customer journey.

For example, reducing the 56-mile journey from Cambridge to London Heathrow to just 22 minutes, in comparison to a 1 hour 30 drive by road. Night out in Cambridge, anyone?

With 37 towns and cities with populations over 100,000 within 100 miles of London Heathrow Airport, the VA-X4 offers huge potential to support zero-emissions short-haul transfers for 7.7 million customers outside of London, for flights to and from the UK’s main hub airport.

According to the press release, a full-scale prototype of the VA-X4 is currently in production and the first test flight is planned for later this year.

Do you think flying taxis will take off? Let us know – email [email protected].