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April 19, 2024
Archer Aerospace Maker
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UPDATE – United Airlines intends to launch operations with Archer Aviation eVTOL vehicles between New York City and Newark Airport in 2025, the airline and start-up airframer announced in a joint media statement today. This makes United the second US airline after Delta Air Lines to share its initial plans on how to operate the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) all-electric vehicles. United and Archer target New York-Newark for eVTOL services.

Passengers will be able to travel between Downtown Manhattan Heliport on Pier 6 close to Battery Park and Newark Liberty Airport (EWR). A ride on a flying taxi will take about ten minutes compared to about an hour by car.

New York’s Mayor Eric Adams is “thrilled that Archer and United Airlines have selected to launch their first route right here in our New York City. We want New York to be a place of bold innovation and outside-the-box thinking, and I encourage other companies to follow their lead.” In October, Delta Air Lines said it would launch service with Joby eVTOLs starting in New York and Los Angeles.

“Archer’s New York to Newark route marks another important benchmark towards providing a carbon-neutral and safe commute that drastically reduces the travel time and produces a fraction of the sound emitted by helicopters,” said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures. United has orders for 100 Archer Midnights.

In her recent interview with AirInsight, Chief Sustainability Officer, Lauren Riley, said to watch out for updates on United’s plans with eVTOLs: “eVTOLs are actually an extension of our service today. We don’t take you from downtown Hollywood to LAX today, but we could if we had an eVTOL. Frankly, it would be a lower carbon footprint than an Uber XL, and the price tag would be similar. If we can make it an and, and, and, that would be really exciting for our customers and for the planet.” United signed a conditional purchase agreement with Eve Air Mobility for 200 aircraft plus 200 options.

Maker completes first wing-borne flight

If United will fly the Archer in 2025, is subject to the Midnight being certified on time. Archer will unveil the production version of the Midnight on November 16. In its Q3 stakeholder letter, Archer says that the Maker demonstrator aircraft completed its first wing-borne flight on November 2. “We have made rapid progress on Maker’s flight testing program and are on schedule to complete a full transition flight in a few weeks, just twelve months after its first hover flight.”

Archer expects the FAA to accept its Means of Compliance before the end of the year. These documents include details about the design, analysis, and testing standards that demonstrate that Archer is capable of operating the vehicle safely and according to airworthiness standards. The procedure has been delayed after the FAA decided to certify eVTOLs under a separate Certification Basis 21.17 (b), but Archer says this change has been largely administrative. The start-up will unveil details about its manufacturing site very soon. Archer reported a $-91 million net loss in Q3  

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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