Archer reveals details of plan to operate eVTOLs for United Airlines

Receipt of its Part 135 operator certificate from the FAA is a key step toward Archer deploying its electric air taxis for airport transfers

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Now in possession of a Part 135 air carrier and operator certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Archer Aviation has shared new details about its plans for operating its electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, including specifics of its arrangement with strategic investor United Airlines.

Archer celebrated receipt of its Part 135 certificate in a private ceremony on June 4 at its flight test facility in Salinas, California. Representatives from the FAA and United were on hand to mark the milestone, which allows Archer — through its subsidiary Archer Air — to begin operating conventional aircraft commercially to refine its systems and procedures in advance of launching service with its Midnight eVTOL.

With air carrier certification in hand, Archer can now confirm it will operate eVTOL air taxis on behalf of United, which catapulted the startup into the public eye when it announced a conditional order for $1 billion of Archer’s aircraft and another $500 million in options in conjunction with the startup’s merger with a special purpose acquisition company in 2021. That essentially turns the deal into a sale-leaseback transaction, with United providing the financing to support deployment of Archer’s air taxi fleet in the U.S.

“We’re pulling back the covers on more of our business model here,” Archer Chief Commercial Officer Nikhil Goel told The Air Current. “Really for the first time we’re now saying this will be Archer Air operating the planes, and there will be pilots that are part of Archer Air — that will be its own entity. And then United will serve those flights to their passengers.” 

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