United Airlines today announced that it has completed an agreement to work with air mobility company Archer as part of the airline’s broader effort to invest in emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel. 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.
Under the terms of the agreement, United will contribute its expertise in airspace management to assist Archer with the development of battery-powered, short-haul aircraft. Once the aircraft are in operation and have met United’s operating and business requirements, United, together with Mesa Airlines, would acquire a fleet of up to 200 of these electric aircraft that would be operated by a partner and are expected to give customers a quick, economical and low-carbon way to get to United’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments within the next five years.
Working with Archer is another example of United’s commitment to identifying and investing in innovative technology that can reduce carbon emissions while also improving the customer experience and earning a strong financial return. The airline was an early stage investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy and recently partnered with 1PointFive, a joint venture between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital, to jumpstart the establishment of direct air capture and sequestration technology.
“Part of how United will combat global warming is by embracing emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel . By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground,” 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.”
With today’s technology, Archer’s aircraft are designed to travel distances of up to 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and future models will be designed to travel faster and further. Not only are Archer’s aircraft capable of saving individuals time on their commute, United estimates that using Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by 47% per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the initial cities where Archer plans to launch its fleet.
Led by co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, Archer’s mission is to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility at scale. Archer plans to unveil its full scale eVTOL aircraft in 2021, begin aircraft production in 2023, and launch consumer flights in 2024. To drive this fourth transportation revolution and transform how people approach everyday life, work and adventure, Archer has built a highly accomplished team of top engineering and design talent, with a collective 200+ years of eVTOL experience.
“We couldn’t be happier to be working with an established global player like United,” said Brett Adcock, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer. “This deal represents so much more than just a commercial agreement for our aircraft, but rather the start of a relationship that we believe will accelerate our timeline to market as a result of United’s strategic guidance around FAA certification, operations and maintenance.”
Adam Goldstein, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer added “the team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future. We’re working closely with their test pilots and environmental teams to make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine.”
United’s Commitment to the Environment
At United, we believe the airline industry needs to be bolder when it comes to making decisions that confront the climate crisis. That’s why we are making aggressive and tangible commitments to help reduce our carbon emission footprint before our customers even take their seats. Here are some of the ways we’re making a difference:
- In 2020, we pledged to become 100% green by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050—without relying on traditional carbon offsets—and became the first airline to announce a commitment to invest in Direct Air Capture technology by partnering with 1PointFive, a joint venture between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital.
- In 2019, we committed $40 million toward an investment initiative focused on accelerating the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other decarbonization technologies. That same year, we operated the Flight for the Planet, which represented the most-eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of commercial aviation.
- In 2018, we became the first U.S. airline to establish a climate goal, reducing our emissions 50% by 2050 versus our 2005 baseline.
- In 2016, we became the first airline globally to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in regular operations on a continuous basis and has purchased and will use more SAF than any other U.S. airline.
- In 2015, we invested $30 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a SAF producer that converts trash to low-carbon jet fuel.