Aircraft leasing firm Avolon has ordered up to 500 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft worth $2.2bn from aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace.

The two companies will work together during the development, certification and commercial launch of Vertical’s piloted eVTOL VA-X4.

The aircraft will have a capacity for five people, including the pilot, and can cruise at more than 200mph, with a range exceeding 100 miles.

The deal is subject to certain closing conditions and will enable Avolon to introduce the ultra-short-haul aircraft category to the commercial aviation market.

Delivery of the aircraft is slated to start by late 2024.

Avolon CEO Dómhnal 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. We strongly believe that the VA-X4 will lead this transformation.”

Avolon’s newly incorporated affiliate Avolon-e will be a launch customer for Vertical’s VA-X4 eVTOL.

Avolon will join existing investors, including Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and American Airlines, as equity investors in Vertical.