June 20, 2024

Brighton Journal

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United is flying electric taxis to O’Hare starting in 2025

United is flying electric taxis to O’Hare starting in 2025

Hate the traffic between O’Hare and downtown? Want an alternative to taking the L?

From 2025, you’ll have a new way to get to and from the airport: an electric taxi. The flight between O’Hare and the Illinois Medical District is expected to take about 10 minutes, according to California-based Archer Airlines, which is partnering with United Airlines. The companies announced the service Thursday.

Air taxis are expected to land at Vertiport Chicago, 1339 S. Wood St. The facility has been described as “the only full-service helipad in downtown Chicago”.

the price? An Archer spokesperson said they hope to make the fare competitive with Uber Black, a ride-hailing service that provides luxury cars and highly-rated drivers to customers. On Thursday afternoon, an Uber Black ride from Vertiport to O’Hare was $101.

The air taxi can accommodate four passengers and a pilot. The taxis are being built at Archer’s Covington, Georgia, facility, which is expected to be capable of producing about 650 taxis annually, according to the company. The aircraft has a range of 100 miles and can fly at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.

“Technological innovation thrives here in Chicago, and this project between Archer and United is another example of that strength,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. This exciting new technology will decarbonize our transportation, and take us one step further in our fight against climate change. I am thrilled that Chicagoans will be among the first in the country to experience this innovative and convenient form of travel.”

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Archer had few details on Thursday about the possibility of expanding air taxi routes, but said in a press release that “the next step will be to build ‘feeder’ routes to connect with surrounding communities.”

“We are excited to add Chicago to our growing list of primary launch cities as we continue to solidify our business [Urban Air Mobility] Adam Goldstein, Archer founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with state and city leaders to bring an innovative transportation solution to the City of Chicago and surrounding communities.”

An FAA spokesperson said Thursday that the agency is working to certify electric aircraft for vertical take-off and landing.

“Safety will determine the timeline for certification, but we could see these aircraft in the skies by 2024 or 2025,” the FAA said in a statement.

The air taxi plan isn’t the first proposed alternative to rail and automobiles between downtown and O’Hare. In 2018, Elon Musk and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the selection of a company owned by Musk, The Boring Co. , for a project that would have electric cars transporting passengers through underground tunnels at high speed. The project was later cancelled.

Contributing: Associated Press