Vertical Aerospace intends to merge with Broadstone Acquisition Corp.
By Naomi Szeben
Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd., the engineering and aeronautical business developing electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, entered an agreement to partner with Broadstone Acquisition Corp.a special purpose acquisition company.
The transaction will result in Vertical becoming a publicly-traded company, with a pro forma equity value of approximately $2.2 billion. Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the combination, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021, under the ticker EVTL.
American has agreed to pre-order, subject to certain conditions precedent and future agreed upon milestones, up to 250 aircraft, and an option to order an additional 100 aircraft. Avolon has agreed to pre-order up to 310 aircraft with an option for a further 190, and Virgin Atlantic has an option to purchase between 50 and 150 aircraft. In addition, all parties will work together towards the prompt certification and deployment of aircraft in commercial operations. In the United States of America, American Airlines expects to work with Vertical on passenger operations and infrastructure development. In the United Kingdom, Virgin Atlantic and Vertical expect to work together to explore the joint venture launch of a Virgin Atlantic branded short haul eVTOL network, including operations and infrastructure development.
Vertical’s mission is to make air travel personal, on-demand and carbon-free through designing, manufacturing, selling and servicing one of the world’s best eVTOL aircraft, the VA-X4. It will travel at speeds over 200mph, be near silent when in flight, produce zero emissions and at low cost per passenger mile.
The VA-X4 is expected to be certified to the same standards as large commercial airliners and therefore is expected to be 100x safer than a helicopter. Vertical intends to certify the VA-X4 to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards – the most stringent global standards – in order to unlock a large UAM TAM of $1 trillion by 2040, with an upside TAM of $4.4 trillion by 20401.
Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building an experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry who have over 1,200 combined years of experience, and have certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems. This includes:
- Michael Cervenka, former Head of Future Technologies at Rolls-Royce,
- Eric Samson, former VP Engineering and Chief Engineer at General Dynamics,
- Tim Williams, former Chief Engineer of Rolls-Royce,
- Madhu Bhabuta, former Chief Technology Officer of the UK’s Ministry of Defence,
- Dr. Limhi Somerville, former Technical Manager at Jaguar Land Rover responsible for the cell facility, battery functional safety and advanced cell development,
- Paul Harper, former UK Chief Airworthiness Engineer at Airbus, and
- Eduardo Dominguez, former CEO of Airbus’ Urban Mobility.
Vertical was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, which includes Ovo Energy, the UK’s second-biggest energy retailer with revenues of $6.5 billion. Stephen remains the majority shareholder in this business.