Delta Air Lines invests in aerial ride-sharing startup


(NewsNation) — Delta Air Lines is all-in on innovating in the aviation industry. Tuesday, the legacy airline announced it will be making a $60 million upfront investment into Joby Aviation, a company developing an electricity-driven aerial ride-sharing service.

As part of the multiyear, multimarket partnership, Delta will integrate Joby’s sustainable home-to-airport transportation service into its operations, using their technology for air taxis for Delta customers beginning in New York and Los Angeles.

The Joby aircraft is quiet and fast and allows passengers to bypass heavy traffic common in large cities. Thus, it makes sense that heavily congested Los Angeles is one of the first cities to introduce the aircraft.

“Delta always looks forward and embraces opportunities to lead the future, and we’ve found in Joby a partner that shares our pioneering spirit and commitment to delivering innovative, seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys, and our world,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a news release. “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.”

The initial equity investment has the opportunity to expand upward into the $200 million range should substantive milestones be reached on the development and delivery of the service.

Delta passengers who opt to use the service can expect “seamless booking, simplified transit and greater time savings,” Delta says on its website. The airline also says the partnership will expand to the U.K. for five years following its commercial launch, with the potential to expand afterward.

“We share Delta’s unwavering commitment to delivering seamless and sustainable journeys to customers,” said Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “Their history of innovation, along with their vast operational expertise and leadership on climate change, make them incredible partners for Joby, and it’s an honor to be working alongside them.”

Joby — which is the first electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, company to be granted a G-1 (stage 4) certification basis for its aircraft by the FAA — represents the latest investment Delta has made to ensure passengers have the best customer experience.

Just this year, it unveiled multibillion-dollar terminal transformations at both New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

“Delta is differentiating and amplifying the customer experience with premium products, choices and solutions across the journey,” said Allison Ausband, Delta executive vice president and chief customer experience officer. “Addressing what matters most to our customers is foundational to our focus, and our work with Joby is the latest in a series of ways we’re making the experience of travel more seamless, enjoyable and wait-free.”

Delta is of like minds with Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, who launched a nonprofit to help accelerate new mobility technology, working with Archer, Hyundai and other design teams to help set the standard in city regulations around air space.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has already begun to discuss the potential regulations these taxis could face, focusing on noise levels, and the impact on overall quality of life and safety for passengers and citizens below flight paths.

Learn more about Joby’s innovative ride-sharing technology on their site

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