United Invests $1 billion in Short-Haul Electric Aircraft


United Airlines agreed to invest $1 billion in Archer Aviation, a start-up building electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

United Airlines agreed to help Archer develop battery-powered short-haul eVTOL aircraft under the conditions of the agreement. Once established, the airline plans to add 200 eVTOL aircraft to its roster, which will be used for short-haul urban operations.

“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,” United Airlines said in a statement.

Short-haul electric aircraft might commute in busy urban areas and transport customers to airports, providing low-carbon “air taxi” alternatives.

According to the airline, an Archer eVTOL aircraft could fly from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) while lowering carbon emissions by 47 per cent per passenger.

United Airlines has vowed to be green by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent by 2050.

The company claims that the eVTOL aircraft can travel up to 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour (241 kilometres per hour). Archer aircraft will be engineered to fly quicker and have a longer range as technology advances.

While still in the prototype stage, Archer plans to unveil its full-scale eVTOL aircraft in 2021, begin aircraft manufacturing in 2023, and begin customer flights in 2024.

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