Airline group AirAsia Aviation Group has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to lease from aircraft leasing company Avolon a minimum of 100 VX4 eVTOL aircraft that will enable it to provide advanced air mobility to a new range of passengers.
In addition to the eVTOL aircraft, Avolon, through its investment affiliate Avolon-e, will partner with AirAsia to commercialize zero-emission eVTOL aircraft and develop an urban air mobility (UAM) platform in Southeast Asia. Avolon and AirAsia will form a working group to pursue local certification, and research potential market opportunities and infrastructure requirements for UAM. AirAsia will also leverage its travel app, the AirAsia Super App, to support and build an eVTOL ridesharing platform with Avolon.
In June 2021, Avolon ordered 500 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical, valued at US$2bn. Since announcing that order, Avolon placed orders for 250 VX4 aircraft with Gol and Grupo Comporte in Brazil, up to 100 aircraft with Japan Airlines in Japan, and a minimum of 100 aircraft with AirAsia. As a result, Avolon has now placed up to 90% of its initial orderbook.
Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon, commented, “Tony Fernandes is an aviation pioneer who has built AirAsia into one of the leading airlines in the world and has now also created Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing Super App anchored on travel. We are delighted to partner with AirAsia who share our vision of revolutionizing the future of air travel. We look forward to working with Tony, and the AirAsia team, on their eVTOL journey. Together we will develop a ridesharing platform and bring the zero-emission VX4 aircraft into service, positioning AirAsia as the operator of choice for sustainable air travel in the region.”
Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, said, “Innovation has always been in our DNA and using technology to look at more efficient and sustainable ways of doing things is a core focus across Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group). We are now much more than just an airline with over 20 products and services on our Super App leveraging off each other including flights, hotels, food, retail, delivery, ride-hailing and more.
“I am truly excited about this partnership between Avolon and AirAsia and the potential for zero-emission ultra-short-haul air travel in Southeast Asia. The digital era is now. In the VX4, we have identified what we believe will be the eVTOL aircraft of choice and we are thrilled to be the launch airline for the aircraft in Southeast Asia. We are also delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Avolon, which has a proven track record of delivering for its customers and is in sync with our goal to become the leading one-stop travel and delivery platform in Asean.”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical, commented, “We are delighted that AirAsia is the latest leading airline committing to lease our zero operating emissions VX4 aircraft. AirAsia provides many fantastic opportunities to travel around some of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, and I am thrilled that we will be bringing zero-emission flight to people all across Asia.”