12 February 2021

United Airlines together with electric-aircraft startup Archer, are planning to develop an aircraft capable of helicopter-style, vertical takeoffs and landings and hope to deliver the first one in 2024, if it wins certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

United said once the aircraft are flying, it and partner Mesa Airlines will spend $ 1 billion to acquire up to 200 that would be operated by another company with an option for $500 million more.

Privately held Archer, which is based in Palo Alto, California, announced separately that it has agreed to merge with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. and form a new publicly traded company.  Archer’s aircraft are designed to fly under battery power for up to 97 kilometers at speeds of up to 240 km/h.

Chicago-based United estimated the air taxis could shuttle people from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport at about half the carbon emissions per passenger, saying the move is part of a broader plan to invest in technology behind cleaner modes of air travel.  

Aviation is a small contributor to greenhouse gases that cause climate change, but its share of the problem is growing rapidly. Many airlines including United have made investments in biofuel, but limited supplies are likely to hinder wider use of such alternatives to jet fuel for many years.

Adapted from original source:alarabiya

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