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.READ MORE: Former West Mesquite High School Football Player Aaron Lowe Fatally Shot In Utah
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 plans to conduct its first test flight later this year with certification as early as 2024.READ MORE: 'What More Would I Want?' Dallas Cowboys Trumpeter Freddie Jones On Entertaining Fans
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.
The order hinges on Vertical meeting certain terms, which the companies did not detail.MORE NEWS: Denton Police Searching For Hit-And-Run Driver Who Struck Woman In Wheelchair
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.