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Sat, Mar 25, 2023

United Airlines and Archer to Found Chicago UAM Network

Midnight in the Windy City

On 23 March 2023, Archer Aviation Inc., the California-based designer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and United Airlines (UAL) announced their joint plan to launch Chicago’s first air taxi route between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Vertiport Chicago—a facility in the Illinois Medical District near Chicago’s famed Loop.

Vertiport Chicago—which happens to be North America’s largest such installation—was selected as the takeoff and landing site for the inchoate airport-to-city-center route on account of its central location and the convenience, access, and service associated therewith.  

Passengers departing Vertiport Chicago will travel to and from ORD via Archer’s Midnight eVTOL in approximately ten-minutes. The same trip by car spans upwards of ninety-minutes in rush-hour traffic and almost never less than an hour under any circumstances. What’s more, given the chronic gang-violence, rampant carjackings, and wanton larceny fostered by the administration of soon-to-be-ex mayor Lori Lightfoot, traveling over the Windy City is eminently safer than traveling through it.

By dint of their joint Urban Air Mobility (UAM) network, United and Archer seek to provide the people of Chicago a safe(er), sustainable, low-noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation beginning in 2025.

Notwithstanding a dwindling population resultant of endemic homicide and sustained mass exodus of people and businesses, Chicago remains the third most populous city in the United States. What’s more, the city’s unique amalgam of superlative downtown architecture, urban sprawl, and challenging weather renders it an ideal testing ground upon which to vet Archer’s Midnight eVTOL and United’s logistical capabilities within the emergent UAM sector. The enterprise’s first routes will focus on airport-to-city-center transportation service. Known as trunk routes in airline vernacular, these early modi, once established, will facilitate the establishment of  branch routes by which Archer and United will endeavor to connect Chicago’s bustling downtown district with the galaxy of suburbs by which the city is girded north, west, and south.

United Airlines Ventures president Michael Leskinen stated: "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. 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.”

Outgoing and woefully unpopular Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot added: "Technological innovation thrives here in Chicago, and this venture between Archer and United is yet another example of this strength. 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."

Illinois governor and bloated billionaire J.B. Pritzker remarked: “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. 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 one-hundred-percent clean energy by 2050—all while saving Illinoisans money and creating thousands of good paying jobs in the process.”

Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein set forth: "We’re thrilled to add Chicago to our growing list of initial launch cities as we continue to solidify our UAM network plans. 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 executive director Daniel Mojica asserted: "Vertiport Chicago is delighted to participate alongside United Airlines and Archer in revolutionizing intra-city travel in Chicago. This partnership will inspire other cities to plan for cutting-edge transportation solutions."

ComEd, the Midwest’s largest utility concern, will work with United and Archer to establish the power infrastructure requisite eVTOL aircraft operations in and around the Chicago Metropolitan Area.

FMI: www.archer.com


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