LONDON – Yesterday, United Airlines announced an additional $15m investment into Eve, as well as signing a conditional purchase agreement for 200 eVTOL aircraft.
First deliveries of the aircraft are due to take place in 2026 and will form part of United’s flying taxi strategy. The Eve eVTOLs destined for United will seat four people.
The conditional purchase order also includes exercisable options for an additional 200 on top, potentially bringing the orderbook to 400 in total.
“United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation,” said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures.
“Today, United is making history again, by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies.”
“Our agreement with Eve highlights our confidence in the urban air mobility market and serves as another important benchmark toward our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – without using traditional offsets.”
“Together, we believe our suite of clean energy technologies will revolutionize air travel as we know it and serve as the catalyst for the aviation industry to move toward a sustainable future.”
Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve, also commented on the deal:
“United’s investment in Eve reinforces the trust in our products and services and strengthens our position in the North American market”.
“I am confident that our UAM agnostic solutions, coupled with the global know-how we have been developing at Eve and Embraer’s heritage, are the best fit for this initiative, giving United’s customers a quick, economical, and sustainable way to get to its hub airports and commute in dense urban environments.”
“It is an unparalleled opportunity to work with United to advance the US UAM ecosystem, and we look forward to it.”
The United Airlines Venture (UAV) is the first time a major U.S airline has created a corporate venture fund, which is designed especially to support green and sustainable commitments to reach net zero by 2050.
United said that this decision to invest in Eve comes off the back of Embraer’s 53-year relationship with the American carrier, of which the Brazilian planemaker has a major involvement in the program.
With a range of 60 miles (100 km), its vehicle has the potential not only to offer a sustainable commute but also to reduce noise levels by 90 percent compared to current conventional aircraft.
Eve is also creating a new air traffic management solution designed for the UAM industry to scale safely.
This software is intended to perform at the same safety level as Embraer’s existing air traffic management software and is expected to be a strategic asset to helping the entire industry grow.
Overall, this is a substantial investment into the eVTOL program, and Eve will also benefit from having a major customer like United Airlines under its belt.
It’s going to be interesting to see how many more carriers will invest in this program, because, eventually, eVTOL aircraft will become the next big thing in aviation-based travel.