Archer Aviation has signaled its intent to introduce its Midnight eVTOL aircraft to international markets with the announcement of its second deal with a foreign operator on Thursday. The California-based aircraft developer has signed a memorandum of understanding with InterGlobe Enterprises, an Indian travel conglomerate based in New Delhi, with the goal of jointly launching and operating eVTOL air taxi services in India as soon as 2026. Archer also recently announced a partnership with the government of Abu Dhabi to launch air taxi operations there in the same year.
InterGlobe is the holding company for India's largest airline, IndiGo, as well as various other businesses in the aviation, logistics, travel commerce, and hospitality sectors. The company will work together with Archer and some as-yet-unnamed “select in-country business partners” to finance and build vertiport infrastructure, train pilots and other personnel, and operate an air taxi service in India, with initial routes launching in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. An Archer spokesperson told AIN that the company expects to be “heavily involved in operations, infrastructure, pilot training, and receiving all necessary regulatory approvals in India.”
According to Archer, the partnership agreement includes plans to finance the purchase of up to 200 of Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft for operations in India. In addition to commercial passenger flights, the partners intend to pursue a variety of other applications for the Midnight aircraft in India, including medevac operations and cargo logistics.
“Over the last two decades, InterGlobe has been involved in providing safe, efficient, and affordable transportation to hundreds of millions of Indians across the country. We are excited at this new opportunity of bringing an effective, futuristic, and sustainable transport solution by introducing Archer’s electric aircraft to India,” said Rahul Bhatia, group managing director of InterGlobe.
Archer’s Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger eVTOL aircraft that the company says will be capable of flying up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) on a single charge, although it will primarily be used for back-to-back flights of around 20 miles. Initial routes in the U.S. will carry passengers between airports and city centers in dense urban areas such as Chicago and New York, where Archer has already announced its first routes in partnership with United Airlines. The company expects the Midnight aircraft to be certified and in service in the U.S. by the end of 2025, and it aims to begin operating in India the following year, pending regulatory approval.
According to Archer, the air taxi services in New Delhi could allow passengers to make the 17-mile (27 kilometers) trip from Connaught Place to Gurugram in about seven minutes, whereas that same trip by car typically takes 60 to 90 minutes. The company has said that pricing for air taxi rides will be comparable to premium ground ridesharing services such as Uber Black.
“India is one of, if not the largest opportunity for eVTOL aircraft utilization in the world, as it is home to the world’s largest population of over 1.4 billion people and its largest cities face some of the greatest congestion challenges in the world,” said Archer co-founder and CEO Adam Goldstein. “Archer’s all-electric Midnight aircraft is designed to provide a revolutionary transportation solution that can help address these congestion issues.”