United Airlines Orders eVTOL Airplanes From Startup Archer

By Thomas Price Thursday, February 11, 2021

As companies continue to work toward lowering their own carbon emissions, many creative solutions have been put in place in order to do so. United Airlines is the latest business to do so, ordering 200 electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft from startup Archer. The company is the latest of several to invest in similar technologies in attempts to reduce overall carbon emissions.

United Airlines airplane on the tarmac.

United Airlines’s Investment in Archer

The airline company recently announced a major investment in the eVTOL startup Archer alongside a $1 billion order from the startup to build and deliver 200 electric aircraft. United Airlines will also have the option to expand the business deal to add 100 more aircraft from the startup for an additional $500 million. The company joins several other businesses that have invested in the startup, including names such as Stellantis, the new name for Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot, who recently merged, and Exor’s venture unit. The company will also be helping the startup to manufacture carbon fiber fuselages.

Alongside the new order, Archer also announced its intention to go public as the startup has planned to do so through a special purpose acquisition company. The startup has a goal of entering the New York Stock Exchange in Q2 of 2021 with a pro forma equity value of $3.8 billion and a set price of $10 per share.

The main goal for the order from United Airlines is to use the electric aircraft as an air taxi to and from the airport. When taking this plan and transposing onto the commute from Hollywood to LAX, the use of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could result in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions. Air taxi transport to and from the airport is not the only plan that the business has for these crafts in the long-term.

Future Business Plans and What to Expect

Alongside using the eVTOL aircraft for commuting purposes, the company could also begin utilizing them for transport between nearby cities, offering a faster alternative to expensive Uber rides or long hours in traffic. This sort of business potential for eVTOL has led to estimates from analysts that the market could be worth $4 billion by the year 2025 and a whopping $57 billion by 2035. Unfortunately, the regulatory hurdles from the FAA could cause Archer and other companies significant strife in the coming years until approval thresholds are met.

Despite regulatory challenges, businesses of all kinds are still excited about the potential of the industry. In fact, when commenting on the business deal between United and Archer, United CEO Scott Kirby said, “By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. 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.”

Given the business potential of the eVTOL market, United and Archer could have a very lucrative future if challenges are overcome.

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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