By Staff

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – American Airlines announced it will invest in $25 million in U.K.-based Vertical Aerospace including preordering up to 250 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft — totaling around $1 billion.

Vertical Aerospace is developing the VA-X4 electric aircraft that can carry four passengers and a pilot and fly at speeds up to two hundred miles per hour with with a range of over one hundred miles.

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The company said in a release on Thursday, June 10 they could potentially transport people quickly around urban city centers and to airports with the craft.

Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 (Credit Vertical Aerospace / American Airlines)

Vertical plans to conduct its first test flight later this year with certification as early as 2024.

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The American announcement came as Vertical Aerospace disclosed that it has agreed to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition and become a publicly traded company later this year.

American, Microsoft’s M12, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and others will take stakes in Vertical through private investment in public equity, or PIPE transactions. Another investor, Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon, said Thursday that it placed a $2 billion conditional order for up to 500 Vertical aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 (Credit Vertical Aerospace / American Airlines)

The order hinges on Vertical meeting certain terms, which the companies did not detail.

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The deal is the latest move by a major airline to demonstrate interest in developing technology around electric aircraft and alternative fuels. United announced a similar deal with another electric vertical-takeoff hopeful, Archer Aviation, in February. Staff