Vertical aims $2.2bn SPAC IPO deal

Photo: AP

US electric vertical takeoff and landing firm Vertical Aerospace, announced plans to go public through a SPAC deal in a bid to raise as much as 2.2 billion dollars, Reuters reported. The production of the eVTOL aircraft has gained backing by key investors like American Airlines. Vertical Aerospace said it has pre-orders for up to 1,000 eVTOL aircraft with launch customers that also include Avolon, along with a pre-order option from Virgin Atlantic, all valued at up to $4 billion.

"If you think about transportation strategically this is the next big frontier," Domhnal Slattery, chief executive of Avolon, the world's third-largest aircraft leasing company, said in an interview.

"Whether it is airlines operating this as an add-on product or ride sharing businesses in different jurisdictions, I think it is going to take a lot of different forms over time."

Investment in the zero-emission electric aircraft comes at a time when aviation companies are under mounting pressure from investors to help decarbonize the sector and boost their environmental, social and governance scores. Analysts say a key question is how long it will take for the new electric aircraft to be certified by aviation authorities. Europe's top regulator said last month the region could see the first flying taxis enter service as early as 2024.

Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock. American Airlines and Avolon, as well as Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, have invested in Vertical via a private investment in public equity transaction, the company said. Microsoft's venture fund M12, investment manager 40 North and venture capital firm Rocket Internet SE are also some of Vertical's investors, the company said.

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