In the UK, Vertical Aerospace has announced a collaboration with Heathrow Airport to explore how Vertical’s VA-X4 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle could operate from the airport by the mid-2020s.

The partnership promises to explore how Vertical’s technology can fit into existing operations, build understanding of the necessary regulatory changes, ‘maximise potential job opportunities and minimise any potential impacts on communities surrounding the airport’.

According to Bristol-based Vertical, its piloted eVTOL will be able to transport four passengers in near silence, at speeds of up to 200 mph, from Heathrow to the City of London in 12 minutes, with zero operating emissions and at a cost similar to that of a taxi.

Virgin Atlantic has already announced a partnership for the UK launch of an eVTOL network with Vertical and conditional pre-order options for up to 150 VA-X4s. Vertical’s existing customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow Group, Iberojet and Marubeni Corporation.

Vertical’s CEO and founder Stephen Fitzpatrick describes the partnership as “a big step forward as we try to get the UK to Net Zero by 2050”. The announcement, he adds, “marks the start of an exciting relationship that will help make eVTOLs flying from Heathrow by the mid-2020s a reality”.

Chris Annetts, Chief Strategy Officer at Heathrow, adds, “We are delighted to be partnering with Vertical, a global champion in emissions-free aviation. This emerging technology has the potential to reduce congestion and pollution on local roads, while providing passengers with a best-in-class experience on the cutting edge of modern technology. We look forward to exploring the possibilities of zero-emissions flight together.”