• Joe Breitfeller

United Airlines Partners With Archer Aviation for Development of Short-Haul Electric Aircraft

United Airlines has completed an agreement with Archer Aviation to accelerate the production of Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for the potential future use as an urban ‘air taxi.’

United to Work With Archer Aviation to Accelerate Production of Short-Haul Electric Aircraft - Courtesy United Airlines/Archer Aviation

On Wednesday (February 10, 2021), United Airlines announced the completion of an agreement with Palo Alto, California-based Archer Aviation to accelerate the development of a short-haul electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for potential future use as an urban ‘air taxi.’ As part of the agreement, United will provide expertise in airspace management, and once the battery powered aircraft are in operation and have met the carrier’s operating and business requirements, United and Mesa Airlines will acquire a fleet of up to 200 aircraft. The eVTOL aircraft would be operated by a United partner, providing a quick, economical and low-carbon way for customers to get to the airline’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments within the next five years.

In Wednesday’s announcement, United Airlines’ CEO, Scott Kirby, said,

“Part of how United will combat global warming is by embracing emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel. By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground. Archer's eVTOL design, manufacturing model and engineering expertise has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.”

Using today’s technologies, Archer’s aircraft are designed to travel up to 60 miles at speeds up to 150 mph, with future models expected to travel at higher speeds with a greater range. United Airlines estimates that the eVTOL could reduce CO2 emissions by 47 percent per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Archer Aviation is led by co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, with the mission to advance sustainable air mobility at scale. The company plans on unveiling its full scale aircraft in 2021, begin production in 2023 and launch revenue passenger service in 2024. Archer has built a team of top engineering and design talent with over 200 years of collective experience in eVTOL design.

In today’s announcement, Archer Aviation’s co-CEO and co-Founder, Brett Adcock, said,

“We couldn't be happier to be working with an established global player like United. This deal represents so much more than just a commercial agreement for our aircraft, but rather the start of a relationship that we believe will accelerate our timeline to market as a result of United's strategic guidance around FAA certification, operations and maintenance.”

Further commenting on the new partnership, Archer’s co-CEO and co-Founder, Adam Goldstein, added,

“The team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future. We're working closely with their test pilots and environmental teams to make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine.”

United Airlines’ shared purpose is ‘Connecting People. Uniting the World.’ Shares in the company’s parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., are publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol ‘UAL’.

Source: United Airlines