Mar 23, 2023 - Technology

Air taxis are coming to Chicago

A rendering of Archer Aviation's "Midnight" eVTOL aircraft.

A rendering of Archer Aviation's "Midnight" eVTOL aircraft. Courtesy Archer Aviation

Air mobility startup Archer Aviation and United Airlines are working to bring air taxi service to Chicago, the companies announced Thursday.

  • The planned service will run between O'Hare International Airport (a vital United hub) and Vertiport Chicago, a helicopter facility about three miles west of the city's South Loop.

Details: The plan is for United passengers to be able to hop aboard an Archer eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft for a 10-minute cruise to O'Hare — a trip that can take 45 minutes or longer, depending on traffic.

  • Once at O'Hare, they can connect to their departing flight.
  • Service is expected to start in 2025.

Catch up quick: Archer and United, an investor, previously announced a planned route between downtown Manhattan and Newark Liberty International Airport — also a major United hub.

The big picture: Archer and United are just two of several companies that hope to use eVTOLs to whisk passengers between urban cores and airports, which often lie on the outskirts of the cities they serve.

  • eVTOLS are cleaner and quieter than traditional helicopters, making them more feasible for this kind of service.

Yes, but: Archer and other developers of the newfangled aircraft still need to clear various regulatory hurdles with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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