United Airlines
A concept illustration of the Eve Air Mobility eVTOL aircraft in commuter service in Chicago.

United Airlines Invests in Embraer Electric Air Taxis

Sept. 12, 2022
The carrier will acquire up to 400 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with deployment for commuter service as early as 2026.

United Airlines placed a $15-million investment in Eve Air Mobility – the “air taxi” business launched by Embraer SA in 2020 – and placed a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat, electric aircraft. The agreement also includes options for 200 more of the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with the first deliveries as early as 2026.

Eve is one of several eVTOL start-ups in development now (by Airbus, Boeing, Honda, Toyota, and others) anticipating demand for air taxi operations for urban or local transportation and delivery services. The Embraer subsidiary is developing not only the electric aircraft but also a global service and support network and air-traffic-management technology.

United Airlines is joining a consortium led by Eve that will simulate urban-air-mobility operations in Chicago starting on September 12.

The Eve aircraft design uses fixed wings, rotors, and pushers, and project a range of 60 miles (100 km), for “sustainable” application as a carbon-free commuter vehicle and to reduce noise levels compared to current conventional aircraft, as detailed by United in its announcement.

The first test of the Eve aircraft was completed in 2018 and a proof-of-concept flight was conducted in 2020. Simulator flights of the system were carried out in Rio de Janeiro last September, and there is a study underway by Eve and BAE Systems to explore defense and security applications of the aircraft system.

Among the other businesses making investments and plans to deploy the Eve air taxi are Global Air Crossing Airlines and Blade Air Mobility Inc.

United previously invested $10 million in another eVTOL business, Archer Aviation. The terms of its Eve investment includes plans to work together on future projects, including studies on the development, use, and application of the Eve aircraft and the urban air mobility ecosystem.”

“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,” stated Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures.