Avolon agrees lease with Turkey’s Freebird Airlines to supply 100 flying taxis
The deal means all 500 of the VX4 electric planes Avolon ordered from the UK’s Vertical Aerospace last year are now placed. The order was valued last June at US$2bn.
Freebird’s owner Gözen Holding, one of Turkey’s leading aviation conglomerates, will buy or lease up to 50 electric planes from Avolon, with an option to buy or lease up to 50 more, the firms said in a statement on Tuesday.
The VX4 is a piloted, zero-emissions electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. Taking off vertically enables aircraft to fly in and out of cities and other built-up locations.
Vertical says the VX4 is 100 times quieter and safer than a helicopter and can travel at over 200 mph (320 km/h), with capacity for four passengers and a pilot.
Avolon has partnered with Gözen Holding through its investment and innovation arm, Avolon-e, to commercialise zero-emissions eVTOL travel in Turkey.
“Today marks an important milestone on our eVTOL journey, as we have now fully placed our VX4 order book with some of the leading international airlines and aviation companies all over the world,” said Avolon chief executive Dómhnal Slattery.
“The strong demand for our VX4 order book and for zero-emissions travel, confirms our view that demand for eVTOL aircraft would always outstrip supply.
“As a result, we will continue working with other partners that want to purchase or lease the VX4 in order to fully size the potential market and demand for this aircraft.”
Mekin Gözen, CEO of Gözen Holding, said the deal with Avolon will help ease traffic congestion in Turkey.
“With over 15 million people living in Istanbul, the city is consistently faced with congestion which hinders both the cities’ development and attractiveness as a tourist and business location.
“We strongly believe that the deployment of the VX4 will dramatically reshape Istanbul and the rest of Turkey.”
Avolon is an equity partner in Vertical along with Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and American Airlines, with Virgin Atlantic set to launch Vertical aircraft in Europe.