Vertical Aerospace Ltd. said Europe’s air-safety regulator has agreed to accept the approval of its flying-taxi design by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, easing the craft’s path to market.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency will concurrently validate the CAA’s certification of the VX4 model once that’s been obtained, Vertical Aerospace said in a statement Thursday.
“Vertical believes this activity with both the CAA and EASA will also support swift validation of the VX4 by other international regulators,” the Bristol, England-based company said.
Vertical is targeting flights by 2025 as the competition to introduce the world’s first electric vertical takeoff and landing craft heats up. While rivals are seeking earlier service entry, the U.K. firm said progress on clearing the regulatory hurdles to such radical technology could give it a “competitive edge” in obtaining the type of certification needed to carry paying customers.
Vertical said it will seek validation of the CAA approvals from other national authorities including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
The startup said it also submitted a so-called certification basis proposal to the CAA and expects this to be agreed later this year, while design-organization approval could also be forthcoming in 2022 after its nominated managers were accepted as competent for the roles.
Vertical said that it had hired Trevor Woods, the former EASA certification director, as its head of regulatory affairs.
Vertical has sealed 1,350 pre-orders from customers and partners including American Airlines Group Inc., Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp., lured by the promise of zero-emission craft and new revenue lines offering helicopter-like services at lower cost.
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