Archer Aviation wants to launch electric air taxi trials in India next year – 04/19/2024 at 1:48 p.m.

((Automated translation by Reuters, please see disclaimer by Aditi Shah

Archer Aviation ACHR.N , backed by Stellantis STLAM.MI and Boeing BA.N , wants to begin testing its electric air taxi in India next year, ahead of a planned commercial launch in 2026, the chief executive told Reuters on Friday of the society.

Last year, US company Archer teamed up with InterGlobe Enterprises, which backs India’s leading airline IndiGo, to launch air taxis to help people avoid ground traffic in congested cities.

“We hope that next year we will be able to bring planes here, at least from a demonstration point of view, and fly them. The goal is to prepare the public for a new form of transportation” , Adam Goldstein, who also founded Archer, said in New Delhi.

Archer is working with India’s aviation watchdog to obtain “appropriate regulatory approvals” before it can begin trials in the country, its chief commercial officer Nikhil Goel said, adding that it was already conducting trials in California .

For commercial operations, Archer is in the final stages of obtaining approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, which are expected to be obtained next year, after which it will apply for approvals in India.

The aircraft will first be launched in New York and India will be its first international market, Goel said.

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, also known as flying taxis, have been touted as the future of urban air mobility. These low-altitude aircraft would fly between cities and airports avoiding traffic, but they face a number of challenges before becoming a reality.

Archer and InterGlobe will, through a joint venture, own and operate 200 Midnight aircraft, worth $1 billion. The company will launch services in the Indian capital New Delhi, as well as the cities of Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The plane can carry four passengers and a pilot for up to 100 miles (161 kilometers), and cover in 7 minutes the same distance it would take 60 to 90 minutes to drive to New Delhi. For a ride costing between $12 and $18 in a premium ride-hailing product, a seat in the air taxi will cost between $36 and $48, Mr. Goldstein said.

Archer will begin manufacturing the plane at its Georgia factory this year and is working with automaker Stellantis to expand manufacturing globally and eventually in India.

“India will be our largest market in the world. It is a very important market,” he said.

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