United Airlines Ups Stakes With Purchase Of Electric Vertical Takeoff And Landing Aircraft

United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) is very optimistic about the future of electric air taxis. The carrier on Thursday announced that it invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility (NYSE: EVEX), a startup that’s developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The deal also includes a conditional purchase agreement for 200 units of the four-seat aircraft, plus options more. United said that the first deliveries can arrive as early as 2026.

Via United Airlines

According to Eve in its August presentation for investors, it has received over 2,000 orders for the aircraft, among the potential customers are Republic Airways, which has signed a nonbinding letter of intent for up to 200 units, and SkyWest with 100 units.

Eve is backed by Embraer, the Brazilian multinational aerospace manufacturer. As its subsidiary, Eve gets access to Embraer’s infrastructure and engineers.

According to United Airlines Ventures president Michael Leshkinen, the deal with Eve, “highlights our confidence in the urban air mobility market and serves as another important benchmark toward our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — without using traditional offsets.”

Eve co-CEO Andre Stein, on the other hand, said that their aircraft would give United customers access to “a quick, economical and sustainable way to get to its hub airports and commute in dense urban environments.”

Eve isn’t the carrier’s only eVTOL investment. The Eve deal follows a separate agreement with California-based Archer Aviation where the carrier made a $10 million prepayment for the purchase of up to 200 Archer aircraft. Archer said that its aircraft, which it projects will begin certification in 2024, is capable of flying on batteries for 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 mph.

eVTOL startups like Eve and Archer will still need to get certification from aviation regulators to operate. Leksinen points out that there’s also the issue of creating infrastructure for the take-off and landing of these urban aircraft.

“But we feel good about the industry accelerating later this decade,” he added.

United Airlines Holdings, Inc last traded at $39.26 on the Nasdaq.

Information for this briefing was found via United Airlines, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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