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Domhnall Slattery , CEO of aircraft leasing company Avolon.

Clare man in deal that could “revolutionise air travel”

AVOLON, the international aircraft leasing company founded and led by Ennis man Domhnal Slattery; and Vertical Aerospace have announced a US $2 billion order for up to 500 electric vertical take off and landing aircraft.
Mr Slattery has said the deal will introduce the ultra short haul aircraft category to commercial aviation, which will revolutionise air travel with zero emissions aircraft.
It will involve the roll out of the VA-X4 aircraft, which they say will be capable of travelling over 200mph, with a range of over 100 miles and capacity for four passengers and a pilot. The fact that it will take off vertically means it will be able to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations. They claim it is 100 times quieter than a helicopter, and safer also.
In a statement, Avolon said, “The agreement will combine Avolon’s scale and deep industry relationships with Vertical’s leading technological position in the eVTOL space and will see both companies collaborate throughout the development, road map to certification and subsequent commercial roll-out of the VA-X4. Avolon will join Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and American Airlines as equity investors in Vertical, working also with Virgin Atlantic who will be a VA-X4 launch airline customer in Europe.
“The order highlights Avolon’s commitment to sustainability and responsible investment and its position as an industry leader and innovator. The commitment to the VA-X4 places Avolon at the forefront of technological change in the industry and underlines Avolon’s belief in the electrification of air transport. Avolon’s existing young and fuel-efficient fleet will be complemented by an investment in a new category of ultra-short-haul aircraft that will produce zero emissions. ”
Mr Slattery said, ““Avolon is proud to be a launch customer for the VA-X4 aircraft, demonstrating our commitment to a net zero carbon economy and to driving innovation in the global aviation sector. Our order with Vertical will also accelerate the inevitable commercial rollout of zero emissions aircraft. Before the end of this decade, we expect zero emission urban air mobility, enabled by eVTOLs, to play an increasingly important role in the global commercial aviation market.
“This order reaffirms Avolon’s position as an industry pioneer. With Vertical, we will revolutionise air travel and continue to reduce the impact of our industry on the environment. In Vertical, we have identified a long-term strategic operator that shares our vision for a cleaner and more efficient mode of air transport. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel will be materially reshaped with airlines needing to embrace emerging technologies that decarbonise air travel. We strongly believe that the VA-X4 will lead this transformation.”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical Aerospace, commented: “We are delighted to announce this aircraft order with Avolon, one of the leading aircraft lessors in the world. Avolon’s proven management team and strong track record of starting, and scaling, a global leading business made this an attractive opportunity and represents a critical milestone for us. This agreement, with an established aviation company like Avolon will allow us to plug into their global commercial network of airlines, reaching key decision makers in a fast and efficient manner.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.