JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) has formed a partnership with Avolon-e, the electric aircraft wing of lessor Avolon, to induct up to 100 Vertical Aviation VA-X4 electric-vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft ahead of the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.

"Today's announcement represents an important step towards the social implementation of air taxi services at Osaka Kansai EXPO in 2025. Our partnership with Avolon lays out the pathway towards achieving the air mobility revolution in Japan. The introduction of VA-X4 will also contribute to reducing our environmental impact, and we fundamentally believe that sustainability will be the engine for future growth across our business and region," Managing Executive Officer Tomohiro Nishihata said.

The Japanese carrier will work jointly with the lessor to certify the type in Japan, identify local infrastructure and commercial requirements, and find more partners to implement the new type. The partnership foresees a tentative order for fifty VA-X4s with options for another 50.

Avolon became the launch customer for VA-X4 when it placed a tentative order for up to 500 units in September 2021. The lessor expects deliveries to begin by the end of 2024. At least some of its 500 VA-X4s have already been tentatively assigned to Virgin Atlantic, which is set to become the type's European launch operator, while GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes signed a tentative commitment for 250 units from the lessor. Other customers of Vertical Aviation include American Airlines with a tentative commitment for up to 250 units and Japan's Marubeni Corporation with a pre-order for up to 200 units.

The XA-V4 will be able to carry up to four passengers in addition to a single pilot. It will be fully electric-powered and capable of travelling at over 200 miles per hour (322 kilometres per hour) with a range of up to 100 miles (161 kilometres). The first test flight of the type is planned by the end of 2021.