(Reuters) – Air taxi maker Vertical Aerospace said on Friday that American Airlines Group Inc has agreed to make pre-delivery payments for 50 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, lifting its shares as much as 71%.
Last year, American Airlines had agreed to pre-order up to 250 of UK-based Vertical’s eVTOL aircraft in a $1 billion deal, with an option to buy a 100 more.
Vertical’s VA-X4 aircraft can carry four passengers and a pilot. It can fly at speeds of more than 200 mph over a range of above 100 miles.
The deal reflects growing interest in battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically, offering a new way for travelers to beat traffic and hop between cities.
Vertical Aerospace had last year reported pre-orders for up to 1,350 aircraft worth $5 billion from customers including American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
U.S.-listed shares of Vertical were last up 52% at $4.43 in afternoon trade.
(Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)