United, Archer Partner On Short-Haul Electric Aircraft


United Airlines announced on Wednesday that it will be working with urban air mobility (UAM) startup Archer to develop Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. As part of the agreement, United says it will acquire a fleet of 200 Archer eVTOLs—an order worth an estimated $1 billion—once the aircraft is in operation and meets the airline’s “operating and business requirements.” Plans for the air taxi fleet, which will be purchased in partnership with Mesa Airlines, include use in urban commutes and providing transport to United’s hub airports.

“By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “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.”

Archer says it will officially unveil its eVTOL design later this year with plans to begin production in 2023. The four-passenger aircraft is expected to be capable of traveling distances of up to 60 miles at 150 MPH. As previously reported by AVweb, Archer is also partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. “…Once the aircraft is in operation and meets the airline’s ‘operating and business requirements.'” To paraphrase, United said, “If you can actually build an eVTOL that does what you say it can do, then we’ll buy it. In the mean time, we’ll use this contact to virtue-signal to our anti-oil customers for as long as it takes.”