United Airlines teams up with Eve Mobility to launch eVTOLs in San Francisco

The partnership offers an efficient way to increase the Bay Area's electric air travel alternatives.
Jijo Malayil
A representation image of the eVTOL
A representation image of the eVTOL

Eve Mobility  

The eVTOL market is witnessing intense activity, with multiple players vying to get its design into production. Now, United Airlines and Eve Mobility have revealed plans to introduce electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flights in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

To make sure the necessary infrastructure is in place for the introduction of electric commuter aircraft, the corporations will collaborate with municipal and state officials, infrastructure, energy, and technology providers. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) origin and destination locations and the future route network are also being determined by the corporations.

“Urban Air Mobility has the potential to revolutionize how United customers work, live, and travel. Eve’s proposed route is a critical first step towards making this all-electric and quiet commute a reality for Bay Area residents," said Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, in a statement.

An efficient option for short eVTOL services

With a range of 60 miles (100 km) and being 100% electric, Eve's eVTOL can carry out a range of urban air transportation operations in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to Eve Mobility, by reducing noise, its human-centered design better ensures the comfort of travelers, the pilot, and the community. With specialized rotors for vertical flight and fixed wings for cruising, the aircraft has a lift and cruise layout, eliminating the need for moving parts during flight.

Although it will be piloted when it takes off, eventually, it will operate without a crew. Eve pointed out that eVTOL flights in the Bay Area are anticipated to have a good economic impact on the community, including new employment prospects, in addition to providing a new, efficient mode of transportation.

Jobs of pilots and aircraft service technicians to training and technical services are among the numerous roles that will be needed as eVTOL flights are introduced and expanded. "The development of the necessary infrastructure to support eVTOL operations is also expected to contribute value and employment opportunities to the community."

United Airlines plans to diversify into the eVTOL segment

As part of its plan to invest in cutting-edge technologies and solidify its position as a pioneer in funding aviation sustainability and innovation technologies, United announced in 2022 a $15 million investment in Eve Air Mobility and a conditional purchase agreement for 200 eVTOLs plus 200 options. 

United Airlines aims to benefit from Eve’s relationship with its parent firm Embraer, which has a long track record of building and certifying aircraft over the company’s 53-year history. 

The collaboration will see United and Eve Mobility get access to Embraer’s "global service centers, parts warehouses, and field service technicians, paving the way for a reliable operation." Once in service, United will have Eve's service and support network maintain the entire eVTOL fleet.

Earlier, United Airlines had teamed with Archer Aviation to launch the first air taxi route in Chicago, between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Vertiport Chicago. It intends to use the latter's Midnight aircraft, which can carry four passengers and a pilot, with a flying range of 100 miles (160 kilometers).

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