United Airlines announced today that it has placed a $10 million deposit to purchase 100 electric initial production aircraft from vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) developer Archer.
Archer’s eVTOL aircraft are designed to use electric motors and have the potential for future use as an ‘air taxi’ in urban markets. The aircraft are made to fly at speeds of up to 150 mph and distances of up to 60 miles, with future models projected to travel faster and farther. The aircraft also has the potential to cut CO2 emissions by 47% per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport.
The pre-delivery payment follows United Airlines’ agreement with Archer in 2021 to assist in the development of its battery-powered, short-haul aircraft, which included plans for United and Mesa Airlines to acquire a fleet of up to 200 of the electric aircraft once the aircraft are in operation and have met United’s operating and business requirements.
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO, said:
“I am incredibly proud of the entire Archer team as we reach this milestone in our partnership with United Airlines. To receive a cash deposit is validation of Archer’s achievements to date, not only with flight testing and product development, but also a great signal of confidence in our roadmap to commercialization.”
United Airlines has committed to fully reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 without relying on carbon offsets and it plans to continue to invest in the development and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Other initiatives and investments include the completion of United’s first passenger flight with a 100% SAF-powered engine, and the agreement to purchase 300 million gallons of SAF produced from CO2 from CO2 utilization company Dimensional Energy.
The eVTOL aircraft are expected to provide a low-carbon way to get to the airline’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments within the next five years.
Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures, said:
“This announcement marks a new important phase in our relationship with Archer, and our commitment to EVTOL technology. We are witnessing an inflection point where consumers,businesses, and policymakers are all aligned to prioritize technology that reduces the impact of climate change. United Airlines Ventures has invested in a diverse roster of companies working in support of our goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, without the use of traditional carbon offsets.”
United stated that it recently formed a joint eVTOL Advisory Committee with Archer, enabling the companies to collaborate more closely on eVTOL maintenance and operations. Committee members include Archer’s operations and maintenance leadership, as well as leadership from United’s maintenance, materials, and engineering groups.