November 16, 2023
An eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) company plans to sell 100 of its flying vehicles in a deal valued at $500 million.
Archer Aviation and Air Chateau International signed a memorandum of understanding for the private aviation operator to purchase the electric aerial vehicles (EAV) to be operated in the United Arab Emirates.
The deal, signed at the Dubai Air Show, calls for a non-refundable deposit of $1 million with the investment group Acorn Capital as the financial transaction partner.
The Air Chateau operations provide last-mile services between airports and cities for high-net-worth individuals.
Archer and Air Chateau also plan to explore opportunities around infrastructure investment necessary for regional cities to prepare for operations.
“It was an honor hosting Air Chateau’s team at the Dubai Air Show 2023 during which they were able to touch, see and feel our aircraft as it headlined the show,” said Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein. “Their recognition that our Midnight aircraft meets what the customer demands in the UAE market and desire to secure the purchase of up to 100 Midnight aircraft is another exciting validation of our efforts to bring to market an aircraft that will revolutionize how people move in and around cities.”
Archer previously outlined its intent to build an engineering center of excellence to support the growing advanced air mobility industry in the UAE and across the Middle East.
Archer recently announced plans to start air taxi operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2026.
Archer is not alone in expanding its global operation.
EAV jet maker Lilium recently announced that ArcosJet DMCC is going to purchase 10 of its electric jets and become the exclusive dealer for its private jets in the region.
In a separate recent deal, Archer and InterGlobe Enterprises signed an agreement to operate a service across India.
The air taxi service would launch in 2026 and the partnership calls for the purchase of up to 200 of the Archer Midnight aircraft, according to the companies.
The companies also plan to explore additional use cases for the EAVs including cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services and charter services.
The Archer Midnight vehicle is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers with the intent of making rapid back-and-forth flights, with short battery charging times in between.
Archer’s stated goal is to replace car trips of up to 90 minutes with electric air taxi flights of up to 20 minutes.
The plan is to fly passengers on the 17-mile trip from Connaught Place to Gurugram, typically taking up to 90 minutes by car, in about seven minutes.
In the U.S., Archer plans to begin official testing of Midnight, working to meet the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Archer recently signed agreements to build a high-volume manufacturing facility for its EAVs.
Construction has already begun on the 350,000-square-foot facility supporting production of up to 650 aircraft annually, believed to be the largest EAV aircraft manufacturing facility by volume.
Another flying taxi company, Joby Aviation, recently selected Dayton, Ohio, for its large-scale aircraft production facility to deliver up to 500 EAVs a year.
That site is large enough to build up to a 2 million square feet of manufacturing space.
The first phase of the Archer facility is scheduled to be completed in 2024, with the planned flying vehicle entry into service in 2025.
The next phase at the location would include the capability to expand to 900,000 square feet to support making more than 2,000 aircraft per year.
Archer has partnered with Honeywell and Safran for a majority of its Midnight aircraft components.
Archer recently received the first $1 million as part of a $142 million deal with the U.S. Air Force, which is working with Archer to assess the eVTOL vehicle market and technologies for Department of Defense purposes.
Archer recently received funding of $215 million, bringing the total investment in its EAV development to $1.1 billion.
That funding came from investors including Boeing, United Airlines, Stellantis and Ark Investment Management.
The Archer EAV is designed to carry 1,000 pounds with a low noise profile.
Archer is also working with United Airlines and last year received a $10 million pre-delivery payment from United for 100 aircraft, according to the company.
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