Delta investing up to $200 million in air taxi startup Joby Aviation
Delta Air Lines is partnering with Joby Aviation, a leading developer of electric air taxis, to make it easier and faster for customers to get to the airport.
Why it matters: The partnership is an extension of Delta's strategy to try to differentiate itself from other airlines by offering a more premium travel experience.
- That includes investments in gleaming new terminals, lounges and digital technologies.
Driving the news: Delta is investing $60 million in Joby, and could invest up to $200 million total, as the partners meet major milestones in the rollout of a premium air taxi service shuttling passengers between airports and nearby communities.
- The plan is to seamlessly integrate Joby's electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) service into Delta's existing flight booking process for travel to and from five cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and London.
- The service will first launch in New York and Los Angeles, where the airline has recently unveiled new terminal transformations.
- Joby will pursue its own, separate air taxi service in markets it has yet to identify but will likely include those two cities.
What they're saying: "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," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.
What to watch: Joby is one of multiple companies developing eVTOLs as a faster, quieter, sustainable way to get around cities. It hopes to begin air taxi service in 2024.
- For now, it is focused on obtaining Federal Aviation Administration certification for its aircraft, and then scaling production at a facility in California.
- "This announcement starts to answer the question about what comes after — how to integrate with the trips people are already taking," Joby executive chairman Paul Sciarra tells Axios.
Separately, United Airlines recently paid $10 million to Joby rival Archer Aviation as part of a 2021 deal to purchase 100 eVTOLs.