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Flying taxis have moved a step closer to becoming a fixture buzzing across the world’s urban skyscapes after startups in the U.K. and Brazil made commercial breakthroughs and a closely watched effort was unveiled in Los Angeles.

Vertical Aerospace Group, based in Bristol, England, won conditional orders for as many as 1,000 electric aircraft that could total $4 billion from buyers including American Airlines Group Inc. and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., it said last week.

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