Thursday, May 23, 2024

Archer Aviation plans to launch electric air taxi service in India in 2026

India’s urban transportation is facing challenges due to the rapid increase in the number of passenger and commercial vehicles in recent years, coupled with limited road expansion and non-uniform roadway geometrics across cities.

While state authorities have emphasized the use of public transport to reduce traffic congestion, a sustainable solution has not yet been found. The country is now looking at next-generation options, such as air taxis and hyperloop, that could offer a more sustainable and efficient future for urban mobility.

India’s travel and hospitality conglomerate InterGlobe Enterprises has announced a strategic partnership with Archer Aviation, the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle startup, to launch and operate an all-electric air taxi service in India in 2026.

Subject to regulatory approvals and clearances, the service will offer a “cost-competitive” alternative to on-road services. It aims to provide a revolutionary transportation solution for the country, improving urban mobility with safe, sustainable, and low-noise electric air taxi services.

InterGlobe and Archer intend to work with selected local business partners in India to operate Archer’s aircraft, finance and build vertiport infrastructure, and train pilots and other personnel needed for the operations. The partnership also intends to finance the purchase of up to 200 Archer’s Midnight aircraft for India operations.

Archer’s Midnight aircraft is an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can carry four passengers and a pilot and perform quick, consecutive flights with minimal charging time between flights. Using today’s battery technologies, the aircraft can fly for up to 60 miles (nearly 100 km) at speeds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h). The company says its unique design will also offer passengers increased safety while producing minimal noise compared to helicopters.

The electric air-taxi service in India will start with routes in Delhi, the national capital, Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, and Bengaluru, known as India’s Silicon Valley. It aims for a passenger on an InterGlobe-Archer flight to be able to fly the 17 miles (27 km) Delhi trip from Connaught Place to Gurugram in approximately 7 minutes – the journey that typically takes 60 to 90 minutes by car.

Apart from urban air taxi services, the parties are also looking to explore various other use cases for electric aircraft in India, such as cargo, logistics, medical, and emergency services, as well as private company and charter services.

“Over the last two decades, InterGlobe has been involved in providing safe, efficient, and affordable transportation to hundreds of millions of Indians across the country. We are excited at this new opportunity of bringing an effective, futuristic, and sustainable transport solution by introducing Archer’s electric aircraft to India,” said Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Director of InterGlobe.

“India is one of, if not the largest opportunity for eVTOL aircraft utilization in the world, as it is home to the world’s largest population of over 1.4 billion people and its largest cities face some of the greatest congestion challenges in the world,” commented Archer’s CEO and Founder, Adam Goldstein, “Archer’s all-electric Midnight aircraft is designed to provide a revolutionary transportation solution that can help address these congestion issues.”

Archer Aviation has secured a $142 million deal with the U.S. Air Force to provide up to six Midnight flights. The company, which counts Boeing and United Airlines among its investors, aims to replace car commutes with its eVTOL flights in urban areas.

In August, Archer obtained Federal Aviation Administration certification to begin testing eVTOL flights in the U.S. The company also recently signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to launch its service in the United Arab Emirates in 2026.