Innovative Electric Air Taxi Service to Launch in Chicago

United Airlines and Archer Aviation are set to launch a groundbreaking flying taxi service in Chicago within the next two years. The ambitious project aims to offer a more sustainable, convenient, and cost-effective mode of transportation for commuters traveling to and from O’Hare International Airport.

The flying taxi service will employ Archer’s Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, capable of transporting passengers between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Vertiport Chicago in approximately 10 minutes. This swift journey will help commuters bypass the city’s notorious rush hour traffic.

Archer’s Midnight aircraft will accommodate up to four United customers per flight, with a maximum range of 100 miles and top speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. In 2022, United Airlines committed to purchasing up to 200 of Archer’s flying taxis as part of a $1 billion deal, aiming to transport travelers quickly and safely while minimizing environmental impact.

Chicago was strategically selected as the launch city for this innovative service owing to its status as a hub for business, innovation, and investment. The city is also home to United Airlines’ headquarters. The initial focus of the service will be on “trunk” routes connecting the airport with the city center. Once these primary routes are established, United plans to expand the service to “branch” routes, reaching surrounding communities in the greater Chicago area.

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (D) expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating that the flying taxi service exemplifies the city’s commitment to technological innovation. Lightfoot emphasized that the new service will further decarbonize transportation in Chicago, bolstering the city’s fight against climate change. Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this novel and convenient form of travel.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) also praised the initiative, calling it a “bold step” towards the state’s goal of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2050. In addition, Pritzker expressed confidence in the partnership between Archer and United Airlines as they work to ensure that the existing aviation infrastructure can support this new and exciting mode of transportation.

Pricing for the flying taxi service is aimed at being competitive with other luxury transportation options, such as Uber Black. An Archer spokesman shared with the Chicago Sun-Times that the estimated fare for a trip from Vertiport to O’Hare would be around $100.

The collaboration between United Airlines and Archer Aviation signals a significant advancement in the aviation industry’s pursuit of electrification and decarbonization. The flying taxi service will offer a convenient alternative to traditional ground transportation for Chicago commuters and contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change. As the first city in the nation to launch such a service, Chicago is set to become a leader in developing and implementing innovative and sustainable transportation solutions.