British carrier Virgin Atlantic has revealed plans to explore the establishment of a short-haul electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) network.

The plans are part of its partnership with aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace. The companies are considering forming a joint venture in the UK for a Virgin Atlantic branded short-haul eVTOL network.

The two companies aim to develop short-haul, electrical aircraft connectivity between UK cities and airport hubs, starting with London Heathrow, Manchester and London Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said: “With innovation and sustainability leadership firmly in our DNA, we are excited to be partnering with Vertical Aerospace to pioneer sustainable and zero-emissions air travel in the UK.”

The carrier has also an option to purchase up to 150 VA-X4 fully electric, zero-emission, near-silent aircraft from Vertical.

The VA-X4 will be capable of carrying five people, including a pilot and has a range exceeding 100 miles. It can fly at more than 200mph.

Vertical is currently producing a full-scale prototype of the VA-X4 with the first flight test slated for later this year.

The aircraft is scheduled to commence commercial operations in 2024 once it receives certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Vertical CEO and founder Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “By bringing together two entrepreneurial organisations who share the same passion for innovation and best in class partnerships, we can revolutionise urban mobility in the UK and electrify air travel. We look forward to working closely with Virgin Atlantic.”

Last week, aircraft leasing firm Avolon ordered up to 500 eVTOL aircraft worth $2.2bn from Vertical Aerospace.