Archer Aviation today confirmed plans to launch air taxi operations in Miami by 2024. The announcement came just over a week after the eVTOL aircraft developer met with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to discuss its intention to establish an urban air mobility network in the South Florida city, which has almost 500,000 residents.
In a further boost to Archer’s plans to get its Maker four-passenger eVTOL certified and ready for commercial operations, the start-up has appointed advanced air mobility pioneers Nikhil Goel and Mark Moore to its advisory board. Both men were part of the leadership team at Uber that developed the Uber Elevate air taxi platform that the ride-hailing group sold to Archer’s rival Joby Aviation in December 2020.
Miami is the second major U.S. city that Archer is targeting as an early adopter of its all-electric aircraft, which will fly up to 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 mph. On February 23, it announced that it is joining the Urban Air Mobility Partnership established by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to launch air taxi operations in that California city. Rival eVTOL developer Hyundai is already a member of the L.A. partnership and Joby is also believed to be setting its sights on the city.
Earlier in February, Archer announced a $1.1 billion share flotation through a merger with a special acquisition company called Atlas Crest Investment Corp. On the same day, United Airlines made a provisional commitment to buy up to 200 of its as-yet-unnamed aircraft in a deal worth up to $1.5 billion.
Like other eVTOL aircraft developers, Archer has not elaborated on the process for preparing to start commercial operations. Much of its effort at this point has been focused on completing the development of the aircraft itself, for which the design definition phase is expected to run until the end of 2021.
As yet, it remains unclear whether Archer's plans for a UAM network in South Florida would be confined to the city limits or might extend up the heavily populated Atlantic coast to connect communities such as Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The plans announced on March 9 make no mention of who would be responsible for developing required ground infrastructure such as vertiports.
In Miami, Archer says, its urban air mobility (UAM) concept will deliver transportation for commuters and leisure travelers at prices that are comparable to those for ridesharing car services. “We know that infrastructure and transportation solutions in southern Florida must change over the next decade to curb carbon emissions, decrease traffic, and create the multimodal transportation networks of the future,” commented Mayor Suarez. “The city of Miami is dedicated to collaborating with Archer to build one of America’s first UAM networks and work towards overcoming the geographical challenges of our water-locked areas currently only accessible via congested roadways.”
In its S-4 Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the proposed merger, Atlas said that Archer also intends to launch air taxi services in Orlando and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.