United Airlines and Archer announce first Chicago air taxi route

Render of a United Airlines Archer Midnight eVTOL aircraft.
Image Credit: Archer Aviation

eVTOL aircraft developer Archer Aviation and United Airlines have announced their plan to launch the first air taxi route in Chicago, between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Vertiport Chicago.

Vertiports


A vertiport is a type of landing infrastructure specifically designed for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles, such as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft that are capable of taking off and landing vertically.

A vertiport is typically a landing pad that is situated in urban areas or other densely populated locations to facilitate air travel.

These structures are designed to enable passengers to quickly and safely board and disembark from the aircraft, which can then take off and land directly from the vertiport.

Chicago Vertiport


Vertiport Chicago, North America’s largest vertical aircraft takeoff 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.

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.

Chicago Urban Air Mobility (UAM)


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, 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,” 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.”

“We’re thrilled to add Chicago to our growing list of initial launch cities as we continue to solidify our UAM network plans,” concluded Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO.

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.

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