Archer Aviation Inc. and United Airlines have revealed plans to launch the first air taxi route in Chicago, between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Vertiport Chicago.
Vertiport Chicago, said to be 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 take-off and landing site for this airport to city center route because of its unparalleled convenience, access and service. From there, passengers will be able to travel to and from ORD via Archer’s Midnight aircraft in approximately 10 minutes. A similar trip by car can take upwards of an hour or more during rush hour traffic.
United and Archer’s goal for its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) network is to provide residents and visitors in the Chicago Metropolitan Area with safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation beginning in 2025.
As the third most populous city in the United States, a center for business, innovation and investment, and home to United’s headquarters, Chicago is seen as a unique city for the companies 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, the 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,” commented 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.”
“Here in Illinois, we are taking bold steps to lead the clean revolution—paving the way for a more sustainable future for our state, our nation, and our world,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I can’t think of a better team than Archer and United to partner with as we work to ensure our existing aviation infrastructure can support this new and exciting form of transportation. This partnership is just another way that we will achieve our goal of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2050—all while saving Illinoisans money and creating thousands of good paying jobs in the process.”
“We’re thrilled to add Chicago to our growing list of initial launch cities as we continue to solidify our UAM network plans,” commented Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO. “We’re looking forward to working with state and city leaders to bring an innovative transportation solution to the City of Chicago and its surrounding communities.”
“Vertiport Chicago is delighted to participate alongside United Airlines and Archer in revolutionizing intra-city travel in Chicago,” added Daniel Mojica, the Executive Director of Vertiport Chicago. “This partnership will inspire other cities to plan for cutting-edge transportation solutions.”
ComEd, a Midwest 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.