AirAsia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Irish firm Avolon to lease a minimum of 100 VX4 electric vertical take-offs (eVTOL) aircraft for their urban air mobility services in Southeast Asian cities.
Under the non-binding MOU, both the companies will work together to get local certification and research the potential for commercialising an urban eVTOL ride-sharing platform.
Through Avolon’s investment and innovation affiliate Avolon-e, the companies said they will work together to launch commercial operations of the 4-passenger eVTOL models, with passengers booking flights using the AirAsia app.
The VX4, developed by British aviation company Vertical Aerospace, is a zero-emission piloted aircraft that has a range of over 100 miles with a top speed of 200mph. It is claimed to be near-silent when in flight and is so low-cost per mile that it only costs passengers slightly more than a regular taxi.
Avolon first placed an order for 500 VX4s from Vertical Aerospace in June 2021 and has since placed a significant number of the eVTOL aircraft with airlines including Gol in Brazil and Japan Airlines.
Though the aircraft is still in development, with a target of 2024 for commercial use.
Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes said Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group) will be focusing on innovation and using technology to improve the efficiency and sustainable ways of doing things.
“We are now much more than just an airline with over 20 products and services on our super app leveraging off each other including flights, hotels, food, retail, delivery, ride hailing and more.”
“The digital era is now. In the VX4, we have identified what we believe will be the eVTOL aircraft of choice and we are thrilled to be the launch airline for the aircraft in Southeast Asia.”
“We are also delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Avolon, which has a proven track record of delivering for its customers and is in sync with our goal to become the leading one stop travel and delivery platform in Asean.” he said in the statement.