Archer Aviation has announced a new upcoming route in partnership with United Airlines connecting downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The Chicago-based airline has made headlines over the past few years for its investment in eVTOL aerial mobility, most notably for its $1B USD order for 200 Archer eVTOL aircraft with deliveries starting as early as 2024.

The 10-minute trip will connect Vertiport Chicago with O’hare, a trip which today can take up to 45 minutes using alternative modes of transportation. This announcement is the second of its kind with the two companies already planning a route between Manhattan and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Vertiport Chicago, North America’s largest vertical aircraft take off and landing facility, is located in the Illinois Medical District near the Chicago Loop. This site was selected as the takeoff and landing site for this airport-to-city center route because of its unparalleled convenience, access and service.

United and Archer’s goal for its UAM network is to provide residents and visitors in the Chicago Metropolitan Area with a safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation beginning in 2025. Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, a center for business, innovation and investment, and home to United’s headquarters. This makes it a unique city for Archer and United to build out. The early launch routes will focus in on airport-to-city center transportation service, which are referred to as “trunk” routes. Once the trunk routes have been established, United’s next step will be to build out “branch” routes to connect to surrounding communities.

“Both Archer and United are committed to decarbonizing air travel and leveraging innovative technologies to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry,” said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures. “Once operational, we’re excited to offer our customers a more sustainable, convenient and cost-effective mode of transportation during their commutes to the airport.” 

“Technological innovation thrives here in Chicago, and this venture between Archer and United is yet another example of this strength,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change. I’m pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel.” 

ComEd, the Midwest’s largest utility company, will work with United and Archer to establish the power infrastructure necessary to support eVTOL aircraft operations in and around the Chicago Metropolitan Area. 

Why it matters: While eVTOL certification are still underway, planning for commercial operations offers a glimpse into the near-future reality of aerial mobility. Passengers will receive a new, more convenient option for getting to and from the airport, while helping to decarbonize aviation and save time that would be spent otherwise in traffic.

Source: Archer Aviation Press Release


Posted by Benji