Delta partnering with electric air taxi firm for home-to-airport trips

The airline is also investing $60 million into startup Joby Aviation,
The electric air taxi from Joby Aviation. (Joby Aviation)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The electric air taxi from Joby Aviation. (Joby Aviation)

Delta Air Lines is partnering with electric air taxi startup Joby Aviation, with the idea of eventually transporting passengers from their homes to the airport to connect to Delta flights.

Joby has been aiming to launch its service in 2024, but it’s yet to be seen when it will gain the certifications needed.

Delta said it expects its initial launch would be the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) service in the market and would target its hubs in New York and Los Angeles, but would explore other markets in the future. The two companies would have an exclusive partnership in the U.S. and U.K for five years after commercial launch. The concept would allow Delta customers to reserve a seat for short trips to and from the airport.

Atlanta-based Delta is also investing $60 million into Joby, and says it can increase its investment to up to $200 million into the company if the service reaches certain milestones. Delta will also have a say in the selection of a member on Joby’s board of directors.

Joby is part of an industry developing the concept known as urban air mobility, using electric aircraft that operate like helicopters to transport people within cities, avoiding highway and road traffic.

Joby is working to bring to market electric aircraft that would have one pilot and four riders, and can travel up to 150 miles at a top speed of 200 miles per hour.

The deal between Delta and Joby comes after United Airlines and American Airlines announced similar partnerships with eVTOL developers.

“This is a groundbreaking opportunity for Delta to deliver a time-saving, uniquely premium home-to-airport solution for customers in key markets we’ve been investing and innovating in for many years,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a written statement.

Santa Cruz, California-based Joby has operated more than 1,000 test flights with its electric aircraft, and received certification as a Part 135 air carrier from the Federal Aviation Administration in May.

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