Delta to launch electric flying taxis to drop off passengers directly at the terminal

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Delta Airlines will soon offer a new route to the airport with electric shuttle flights taking passengers on fast journeys between home and the airport. In partnership with Joby Aviation, a developer of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the air taxi service will initially target New York and Los Angeles airports.

Joby Aviation Airplane_800x800
Image courtesy of: Joby Aviation

This new partnership will be a business-to-business collaboration, with Joby leveraging and integrating its fast and sustainable airport service into Delta’s reservation platforms. The service will become a premium offering for Delta customers traveling through city airports.

“Delta is always looking forward and seizing opportunities to lead the future, and we have found in Joby a partner who shares our pioneering spirit and our commitment to delivering innovative and seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys and our world,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a Delta press release Tuesday. “This is a game-changing opportunity for Delta to provide a one-stop, fast home-to-airport solution for customers in key markets where we have invested and innovated for many years.

Delta flight Los Angeles, United States

The airline has made an initial investment of $60 million in Joby, with a pledge of a total investment of $200 million if the partners meet set milestones. The partnership will span five years after official launch and span the US, and UK Delta is one of the latest airlines to invest in electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle startups, following in the footsteps of American Airlines and United Airlines, which each made $25 million in investments.

Delta Airlines Flight Booking App

Where will the air taxi service drop me off?

At a press conference, Joby founder and CEO Joe Ben Bevirt said the four-passenger plane could land and take off from neighborhood vertiports, which are dedicated areas for VTOL aircraft. Thanks to the electric propulsion of the vehicles and the minimal noise level, this would allow stations close to customers’ homes. Vertiports would also be located near the terminals with the future objective of eventually landing on the tarmac to save even more time. According to Bevirt, a trip that would normally take an hour to John F. Kennedy International Airport would take about 10 minutes in the air.

Conceptual eVTOL

When will the service be available?

It will depend on when Joby receives additional certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, but both companies have their sights set on 2024. Joby’s aircraft has already flown 1,000 test flights and was the first eVTOL company to receive a G-1 (Step 4) FAA certification basis. Joby will also offer a separate ride-sharing service outside of its commitment to Delta with a prior agreement to integrate its service into the Uber app in all U.S. launch markets.

Image from Joby Aviation Delta press release

Why did Delta choose New York and Los Angeles airports?

Delta has invested heavily in these cities over the years and unveiled part of its $4 billion joint investment in LaGuardia Airport and a $2.3 billion joint investment in Los Angeles International Airport. This year. Air taxi service will begin in New York and Los Angeles, but the two companies hope the service will expand to other cities in the United States and possibly overseas.

John F. Kennedy International Airport at the doorstep of Delta Airlines

What will the experience be?

Joby’s aircraft was designed for fast, quiet and durable flights in and around cities. According to Joby’s website, the plane takes off and lands vertically and is powered by six electric motors. With a design comparable to a silent helicopter, the vehicle was described as riding in an SUV instead of riding in an airplane. The green alternative can reach a top speed of 200 mph and has zero operating emissions. The process will be designed to be seamless and without waiting, alongside other innovative solutions to speed up the airport transportation process.

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