United Airlines Wednesday announced that it has completed an agreement to work with air mobility company Archer as part of the airline’s broader effort to invest in emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel. Rather than relying on traditional combustion engines, Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are designed to use electric motors and have the potential for future use as an ‘air taxi’ in urban markets.
Under the terms of the agreement, United will contribute its expertise in airspace management to assist Archer with the development of battery-powered, short-haul aircraft. Once the aircraft are in operation and have met United’s operating and business requirements, United, together with Mesa Airlines, would acquire a fleet of up to 200 of these electric aircraft that would be operated by a partner and are expected to give customers a quick, economical and low-carbon way to get to United’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments within the next five years.
Led by co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, Archer’s mission is to promote the benefits of sustainable air mobility on a large scale. Archer plans to unveil its full-scale eVTOL aircraft in 2021, begin aircraft production in 2023 and launch consumer flights in 2024.
“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,” said United CEO Scott Kirby.