Air taxis are hindering the future of passenger aircraft, Avolon says


Attention Airbus and Boeing – one of the largest aircraft owners in the world says that the wings of passenger planes could be cut off by the proliferation of flying taxi startups.

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Attention Airbus and Boeing – one of the largest aircraft owners in the world says that the wings of passenger planes could be cut off by the proliferation of flying taxi startups.

Commercial air travel is already in competition with high-speed trains in parts of the world. However, the head of Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon said competition would shift upward as the company invested up to $ 2 billion in air shuttles.

Avolon is one of the first customers for up to 1,000 electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVOTL) aircraft, which are being developed by the British Vertical Aerospace, which plans to go public through a merger with a blank check company.

The German air shuttle startup Lilium announced in March that it would go public on the US stock exchange through a similar process.

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The deals reflect growing interest in battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically, offering travelers a new way to negotiate traffic and hop between cities.

Vertical’s VA-X4 has a range of 120 miles, but that could be expanded, Domhnal Slattery, chief executive of Avolon, said late Thursday.

“The challenge for established aircraft manufacturers is if the range can be extended to 400 to 500 miles, what does that mean for traditional narrowbodies?” he said in an interview.

When asked if the four-passenger, one-pilot vehicles could take over the business of much larger commercial aircraft, Slattery said, “Eventually, yes, of course. This is the inevitable future.” Planners have invested in such projects themselves.

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Helicopter trips could also be squeezed.

“You have to remember that you have these machines that can replace the old helicopters by simply being 100 times quieter and causing zero emissions,” said Slattery.

Avolon has firm orders for 310 eVTOLs valued at $ 1.25 billion and 190 options valued at $ 750 million, Slattery said.

You will become part of your own or managed fleet of 568 passenger aircraft up to the 396-seat Boeing 777-300ER.

Slattery said Avolon hadn’t decided how to use the air taxis, whose relatively short product development cycles mean a shift for leasing companies accustomed to long-term jet investments.

“We could work with airlines, we could set up our own entities in different jurisdictions around the world, we could work with helicopter operators,” said Slattery.

“I think it will take a lot of different forms over time. But the technology is there and we will lead commercialization with zero-emission allowances.”

The move comes at a time when air carriers are vying to lead the environmental agenda as they have been pressured by investors to help decarbonise aviation and improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) values.

According to Vertical Aerospace, eVTOL aircraft can help the industry achieve the CO2 reduction targets through zero emissions and electricity, as far as possible from renewable energy.

However, experts say there are questions about the timing of security certification that eVOTL suppliers expect as early as 2024.

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