LONDON – Zero-emissions aviation technology company Vertical Aerospace (Vertical) has secured a pre-delivery payment for the reservation of aircraft delivery slots from Marubeni Corporation [Marubeni].
Marubenil, an existing customer, is the leading Japanese trading and investment conglomerate.
Following the joint working group partnership with Vertical, Marubeni has reserved aircraft delivery slots for 25 out of its up to 200 VX4 conditional pre-orders and becomes Vertical’s first customer in Asia to make a pre-delivery payment.
Japan is the key launch market
Marubeni’s commitment further reinforces Japan’s potential as a key launch market for Advanced Air Mobility [AAM].
Over recent months, Marubeni has been conducting proof-of-concept (POC) demonstration trials in preparation for the Osaka World Expo 2025.
Marubeni conducted flights from the Osaka heliport to Wakayama using existing helicopters at future expected AAM service prices.
Throughout the trials, Marubeni began addressing public awareness, acceptance, and requirements for future eVTOL services in the prefecture.
Vertical and Marubeni previously announced a partnership in September 2021 for conditional pre-order options of up to 200 aircraft, and a joint evaluation of the requirements for eVTOL aircraft operations in Japan.
It also covers commercial considerations such as route and network planning and infrastructure requirements.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Founder, and CEO said “We are delighted to have reached the next milestone in our partnership with Marubeni.”
“Japan is a wonderful country that is embracing the promise of eVTOL, as it will connect cities and regions like never before. We look forward to our joint efforts to build the ecosystem for zero-emissions travel in Japan.”
Satoshi Takechi, General Manager, Aviation, Space & Defense Dept. said “We are proud to have taken another major step with Vertical Aerospace to introduce VX4 in Japan.”
“I am confident that our continued joint efforts with Vertical Aerospace, such as evaluating the requirements for eVTOL operations and engaging the potential partners under the Joint Working Group, together with this new agreement, will accelerate the development of the AAM market in Japan.”
Vertical Aerospace is pioneering electric aviation. The company was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, a leading energy, and technology group and Europe’s largest independent energy retailer.
Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building the most experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry, who have over 1,700 combined years of engineering experience and have certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems.
Vertical Aerospace’s Pre-order book
Vertical has a market-leading pre-order book by value for more than 1,400 aircraft from global customers creating multiple potential near-term and actionable routes to market.
Customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow, Marubeni, Iberojet, and FLYINGGROUP, as well as Japan Airlines (JAL), Gol, Air Greenland, Gozen Holding, and AirAsia, through Avolon’s VX4 placements.
Having been issued its Permit to Fly from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority in September 2022, Vertical’s VX4 prototype has successfully undertaken piloted flight tests.
The flight test program will continue over the coming months, reaching higher altitudes and speeds, as well as demonstrating the transition from vertical to horizontal flight.
About the VX4 eVTOL Aircraft
The VX4 is projected to be capable of transporting a pilot and up to four passengers, traveling distances of 100 miles, and achieving top speeds of over 200 miles per hour, while producing minimal noise and zero operating emissions.
The VX4 is expected to open up advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers and transform how we travel.