Could passengers actually travel the distance between O’Hare International Airport (KORD) and Vertiport Chicago—a trip that can take an hour or more with traffic—in just 10 minutes?
United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Archer Aviation (NYSE: ACHR) are banking on it, announcing the route as the latest addition to its list of airport-to-city center air taxi routes proposed to use the Midnight aircraft in development.
Archer unveiled its Midnight eVTOL production aircraft in November and said it is designed to complete two short, consecutive flights of around 20 sm, followed by charging sessions of about 10 minutes.
The route to Vertiport Chicago, the largest vertical aircraft takeoff and landing facility in North America, will begin in 2025, Archer said.
“Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, a center for business, innovation and investment, and home to United’s headquarters,” Archer said. “This makes it a unique city for Archer and United to build out.”
Late last year, the two companies announced plans to establish the first airport-to-city-center route using Archer’s all-electric Midnight air taxi between Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR) to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in New York (KJRB). At the time, Archer said the route plan marked the first time an eVTOL company has named a specific route it plans to serve.
And like the New York route, the Chicago service would have an eye on expansion. Initial routes will focus on “trunk routes” between the airport and the city center, with “branch” routes to surrounding communities following as a next step.
“Both Archer and United are committed to decarbonizing air travel and leveraging innovative technologies to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry,” Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said in a statement. “Once operational, we’re excited to offer our customers a more sustainable, convenient and cost-effective mode of transportation during their commutes to the airport.”