Shares in eVTOL aircraft developer Vertical Aerospace started trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday, after shareholders in Broadstone Acquisition Corp. approved a merger with the UK-based start-up on December 15. Trading under the EVTL ticker, the combined company said that it expects to raise around $300 million from the flotation and the issuance of convertible senior secured notes.
While the capital raised is less than the $394 million figure cited when Vertical announced plans to go public through a merger with the special purpose acquisition company in June, the group said it is more than the $250 million it expects to need to complete EASA type certification of its four-passenger eVTOL by 2024 and start commercial operations in “the mid-2020s.” Last week, Vertical Aerospace unveiled the prototype of the newly renamed VX4 aircraft, which is expected to start flight testing in 2022.
Vertical recently announced an additional $205 million funding round led by Mudrick Capital, along with new strategic partnerships to develop vertiports with London Heathrow Airport and infrastructure group Ferrovial. Public shareholders in the company already include American Airlines, leasing group Avolon, Honeywell, Microsoft’s M12 division, Kouros, Rolls-Royce, 40North, and Rocket.
Provisional orders for the fixed-wing eVTOL, which will have a range of over 100 miles and speeds of 200 mph, now total 1,350 units with a list price combined value of $5.4 billion (implying a $4 million price tag). Prospective launch customers include American Airlines, Avolon, Virgin Atlantic, Bristow, Marubeni, Iberojet, Gol, and Japan Air Lines.
“Our confidence in the VX4 is underpinned by the level of demand we see in the market,” said Avolon chief executive Domhnal Slattery. “We were the first lessor to order eVTOL aircraft with Vertical in June, the majority of those 500 VX4 aircraft are already placed. As we transition towards a net-zero carbon economy, we are excited about the future for zero-emissions aircraft, and our partners Vertical will be, we believe, the long-term winner in the eVTOL sector.”
Rolls-Royce is developing an electric propulsion system for the VX4, with the first units to be delivered in 2022. Other leading partners in the program include Honeywell Aerospace, which is providing flight controls and avionics.
To celebrate the merger and share flotation, Vertical executives will ring the NYSE opening bell on December 17, which marks the 118th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk. “This is a landmark moment for Vertical Aerospace,” commented CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick, the energy sector entrepreneur who founded the company in 2016. “We have global leaders in aviation as partners and a world-class team that can make zero-emissions flight a reality for millions of people around the world.”
Unlike several other leading eVTOL aircraft developers, Vertical has no intention of operating commercial air taxi services. Its business model is based on manufacturing, sales, and product support.