Advanced Air Mobility News

Archer and United Airlines Unveil Air Taxi Route in Chicago

Archer and United Airlines Unveil Air Taxi Route in Chicago

Archer Aviation and United Airlines announced a commercial electric air taxi route in the US city of Chicago, four months after it unveiled its first route to and from New York City.

The new route to be set up between O’Hare International Airport and Vertiport Chicago will be able to transport passengers from the airport to the city center via air taxis in around 10 minutes, which usually takes more than an hour during traffic congestion.

Vertiport Chicago is a heliport located in downtown Chicago, while O’Hare International Airport, as the main international airport in Chicago and United’s largest operation site, is an ideal place to support air taxi operations.

Chicago, a major transportation center, places it at the forefront of the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. At the current stage, the eVTOL routes will be built between airports and city centers before these “trunk routes” are expanded through “branch routes” into the surrounding communities.

The Chicago route is not the first such air taxi route announced. Archer and United in November 2022 announced a route between Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in New York City.

United and Archer have been working with partners, including the City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Aviation, World Business Chicago, the State of Illinois, ComEd, and Vertiport Chicago.

“I’m pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

As Archer and United are committed to decarbonizing air travel and leveraging innovative technologies, Governor JB Pritzker said the partnership is “just another way” to achieve its goal of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2050. He stressed that the partnership will save Illinoisans money and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

Archer Aviation will conduct the first test flight of its Midnight aircraft in early 2023 and is aiming to launch eVTOL services by 2025. The US eVTOL manufacturer received a USD$10 million pre-delivery payment from United Airlines for Midnight aircraft that it agreed to purchase in 2021. The payment marks a watershed moment for the eVTOL industry, validating confidence in the commercialization of eVTOL aircraft.

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