Archer FAA-certified to begin commercial aircraft operations

Stellantis-backed Californian electric air taxi developer Archer has received certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin commercial flight operations.

Image: Stellantis

With this latest FAA certification, Archer can now commence commercial operations, but not yet with its electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft, the series eVTOL Midnight, which offers space for one pilot and four passengers.

The US electric aircraft taxi service says before its latest iteration VTOL Midnight is certified, it will use conventional aircraft – without specifying which kind – to leverage its mobile booking application, vertiport technology integrations, and proprietary operations software platform, which are all currently under development.

In Korea later this year, Archer is to operate public demonstration flights of its aircraft and engage with regulators to develop certification and operational standards.

In the USA, Archer is joining forces with aviation service provider Atlantic Aviation and two other developers of electric air taxis to set up charging stations for them at airports. The initial focus is on building charging infrastructure in New York and Los Angeles. San Francisco and Miami are also part of the focus with Archer. The partnership with Beta Technologies is targeting the East and Gulf Coasts. While Archer and Beta are working together on the CCS standard, Joby has developed its own standard with the Global Electric Aviation Charging System (GEACS).

In the West, VTOLs are just coming into a commercial market of electric air taxis. In China, however, Ehang has already commercially released not only a VTOL, but an autonomous one at that – at the affordable price of around $30,000. Legislators and industry leaders in China have long been forging ahead with what is called the “low-altitude economy,” referring to the airspace that is less than 1,000 meters above ground and can be extended up to 4,000 meters according to the characteristics and actual needs regarding the respective landscape. Because autonomous VTOLs can carry passengers but do not require a pilot, the economic space opened up covers new business cases in industrial, scientific, logistics, emergency and civil service and military flights such as evacuation operations.

In the USA, Archer says its goal is to replace 60–90-minute commutes by car with estimated 10–20-minute electric air taxi flights. The company maintains that this service will “transform urban travel” with its piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights.

“We are honoured to receive the Part 135 Air Carrier & Operator Certificate from the FAA, which is another important stepping stone on the way to commencing commercial air taxi operations with our Midnight aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Archer. “This milestone reflects our team’s unwavering dedication to safety and operational excellence as we stand up one of the world’s first electric air taxi services for communities across the U.S. with a safe, sustainable and low-noise transportation solution.”


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