Friday Funding: United Airlines Continues Air Taxi Focus, Invests $15 Million into Eve Air Mobility
200 Flying Taxis
United Airlines (UAL) is making a bet on the future of aviation. Having already invested in flying taxi technology previously, the company has now invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility, which is also backed by aircraft manufacturer Embraer (ERJ).
As part of the two companies’ conditional agreement, United will buy 200 of the electric aircraft being developed by Eve. Each flying taxi seats four passengers. They land and take off vertically, like a helicopter. FAA regulators are examining the company’s aircraft but have yet to grant approval to fly passengers.
In a separate deal announced last month, United placed a $10 million deposit with Archer Aviation Inc. to secure 100 electric flying taxis. Meanwhile, the firm says it expects the first deliveries from Eve by 2026. Aviation experts say the flying taxi sector could become a booming market within the next decade.
Airlines have been joined by leasing companies in a bid to take advantage of the potential growth. Investments have been made and deals have been struck in anticipation of flying taxis becoming a normal sight. Travel to and from airports would be faster given the ability to zoom over traffic, while carbon emissions would also be reduced given the aircraft’s electric motor.
High Tech Transport
United says it anticipated a one-way trip aboard one of its flying taxis to cost between $100 and $150. That would be similar to taking an Uber Black (UBER) from New York City’s Manhattan neighborhood to nearby Newark Liberty International Airport.
The airline sees its deal with Eve as complementary to the existing purchase order with Archer. United also has an established relationship with Brazil-based Embraer, which has the potential to help during the regulatory approval process. Infrastructure also needs to be developed, but as this futuristic vision approaches, whistling and shouting “taxi!” into the skies above may not seem so strange.
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