United Airlines said Wednesday it will buy up to 200 small electric air taxis to help customers in urban areas get to the airport.
United Airlines said Wednesday it will buy up to 200 small electric air taxis to help customers in urban areas get to the airport. The airline said it will help electric-aircraft startup Archer develop an aircraft capable of helicopter-style, vertical takeoffs and landings. Archer hopes to deliver its first aircraft in 2024, if it wins certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
United said once the aircraft is flying, it and partner Mesa Airlines will acquire up to 200 that would be operated by another company. According to an Archer presentation to investors, the orders are worth $1 billion with an option for $500 million more.
Privately held Archer, which is based in Palo Alto, California, announced separately that it has agreed to merge with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. and form a new publicly traded company. Archer and Atlas put a $3.8 billion value on the deal, which sent Atlas shares up 22%.
Archer’s aircraft are designed to fly under battery power for up to 60 miles (97 kilometers) at speeds of up to 150 mph (240 kph). The company plans to launch service in congested areas close to airports. United estimated the air taxis could shuttle people from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport at about half the carbon emissions per passenger.
In December, United pledged to offset all its carbon emissions by 2050 in part by investing in technology to remove carbon from the air and bury it.