United Airlines is spending about $1 billion to buy electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, aimed at reducing the first and last mile carbon footprint of its customers.
The eVTOL ‘air taxis’ from California air mobility startup Archer would whisk United passengers to and from the airport and cut down on congestion.
United and affiliate Mesa Airlines plans to buy up to 200 small electric aircraft.
The airline is taking a big punt on Archer, which doesn’t even have a working product yet, although it plans to unveil one this year.
It expects to deliver the first aircraft by 2024, once it gets certified by the FAA.
The aircraft would fly on rechargeable battery power at speeds of up to 150 mph, and a range of about 60 miles.
That makes it feasible for airport service from congested downtown areas near airports such as Los Angeles International, or linking NewYork City with United’s hub at Newark.
According to United CEO Scott Kirby, Archer ‘has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.’
Separately, Archer said it will partner with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Atlas Crest Investment to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.