Last month USTN outlined the green future of air travel, looking at how the use of electric air taxis could propel us forward in the green energy transition. Now, one of the country’s biggest commercial airlines, Delta, has announced that it is partnering with the California-based technology firm Joby Aviation to unlock a new age of short distance air travel.
Joby Aviation focuses on the development of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs). Although it’s based here in the US, the company has hubs around the world, making it one of the leaders in the aviation industry. Additionally Joby was the first eVTOL company to be given its G-1 Certification Basis by the FAA and has also received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certification.
Delta has teamed up with Joby to help develop an air taxi service to get people from their homes to the airport and vice versa. This service could be arriving sooner than expected, with Delta saying they hope to have the air taxis in action in the next few years.
Delta’s $60 million investment will see the eVTOLs operate in conjunction with Delta, offering passengers the ability to choose an air taxi as opposed to ground transportation in order to make their Delta flight. [-1] The five-year partnership will look at the use of electric aircraft both in the US and the UK.
It is hoped the electric aircraft will solve those last-mile transportation problems: promising a quick, quiet and clean way to get around cities.
Ed Bastian, Delta CEO, said “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for Delta to deliver a time-saving, uniquely premium home-to-airport solution for customers in key markets we’ve been investing and innovating in for many years.”
Other airlines are also getting involved. For example, United Airlines have recently joined forces with eVTOL manufacturer Archer Aviation. Last year, the airline made a $10 million pre-delivery payment for 100 electric air taxis. Following this the company also announced further investments in Eve, another electric aircraft firm, with a conditional purchase agreement for 400 flying taxis.
United stated that they are hoping to receive the first deliveries from Eve in 2026.
Additionally, American Airlines also signed a deal for 250 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace. They are hoping to see its aircrafts rolled out as soon as 2025.
With investments from multiple airlines coming off the ground, it’s clear that we may be seeing electric planes hovering in our skies sooner than might have been expected. However, whether or not these will be accessible to the general population is still up for debate, with questions over infrastructure and convenience still surrounding the issue.