Saturday, December 9, 2023

Archer plans to commence air taxi operations in Abu Dhabi in 2026

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company Archer Aviation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to make Abu Dhabi its first international launch partner, with plans to commence air taxi operations in Abu Dhabi in 2026.

As part of this strategic initiative, ADIO plans to support Archer with incentives for establishing its first international headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) Cluster in Abu Dhabi.

Archer is seeking to work with its global manufacturing partner, Stellantis, as well as local partners in the UAE, to establish its aircraft manufacturing capabilities and its Center of Excellence in Abu Dhabi. The Center of Excellence will focus on the research and development of cutting-edge aviation technologies.

Archer aims to revolutionize urban mobility, offering electric air taxi flights that can reduce 60–90-minute car trips to 10-20 minutes in urban areas. Archer’s Midnight is a four-seater aircraft with a pilot, designed for quick and frequent flights with minimal charging time, and has a range of up to 100 miles (160 km). Archer’s vision is to provide a safe, sustainable, low-noise, and affordable alternative to ground transportation.

The California-based company’s plans for developing air taxis in the UAE come off the back of its $142 million contract with the U.S. Air Force in August to supply up to six Midnight aircraft.

Archer is working with numerous industry partners across the UAE to support its plans to commercialize operations in the UAE by 2025. In addition to its MoU with ADIO, Archer also signed agreements with several other aviation industry participants from across the region, including Falcon Aviation and GAL-AMMROC. Under the agreements, Falcon Aviation will operate Archer’s air taxis in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while GAL-AMMROC will provide MRO support for the eVTOL fleet.

Archer intends to develop an engineering center of excellence in the UAE to support the growth of AAM across the Middle East. It has received funding from Mubadala Capital, which is backed by the Abu Dhabi government, as well as Stellantis, Boeing, and United Airlines.

“We are excited to be working with Archer to begin establishing a high-volume manufacturing facility for the Midnight aircraft in the United States over the last couple of years. We hope this first production site will be a blueprint for future Archer manufacturing facilities as it expands operations to serve new regions, starting with the Middle East, where we see extraordinary potential for urban air mobility,” said Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, in the press release.

The company will showcase its Midnight aircraft, an all-electric vehicle designed for urban air travel, at the Dubai Airshow from November 13 to 17. The aircraft will also be displayed at the Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, organized by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in Dubai later in November.