Chicago To Launch 1st Commercial Electric Air Taxi Service

Chicagoans will soon have a new way to beat the traffic and congestion on their way downtown. The city will be the debut location for the first commercial electric air taxi route, according to a joint press release by Archer Aviation Inc. and United Airlines.

Archer and United are planning to launch the commercial electric air taxi service in 2025, and Chicago was chosen as the launch city because of its status as the third most populous city in the United States, its reputation as a center for business and innovation, and as the home of United Airlines headquarters. Archer will use electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which will commute between O’Hare International Airport and Vertiport Chicago, the largest vertical aircraft take-off and landing facility in North America, located in the Illinois Medical District near the Chicago Loop.

The eVTOL aircraft is powered by six battery packs and can travel at speeds of up to 150 mph. It has enough room for one pilot, four passengers, and luggage. The commute from O’Hare to downtown Chicago can take more than an hour in regular traffic and even longer in rush hour, but with Archer’s eVTOL, the trip will only take 10 minutes, at a cost of around $100-$150 per person, according to the company’s release.

Bryan Benhard, Archer’s chief growth and infrastructure officer, said, “This is definitely the transportation of the future… it’s safe, sustainable, affordable, quiet. It’s an aircraft that people will take instead of driving an hour to an hour and a half from downtown to [O’Hare].”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also praised the new service, saying, “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.”

While Chicago will be the first city to experience Archer’s electric air taxi service, the company hopes to expand the program to other major metro areas, such as New York City. The service is expected to offer a faster and more eco-friendly transportation alternative to traditional taxis and ride-sharing services, reducing travel times and carbon emissions.

The launch of the electric air taxi service comes as Chicago is undergoing a major construction project on its main expressway, which is expected to create traffic nightmares. The innovative and convenient new transportation option could not have come at a better time, offering Chicago residents and visitors a faster, more efficient, and more enjoyable way to travel to and from O’Hare International Airport.