Chicago to debut first commercial electric air taxi route

  • Air taxis will offer rides between O'Hare airport and downtown Chicago in 2025
  • Archer and United Airlines are looking to lessen commute times in cities
  • The rides will take 10 minutes and cost between $100 and $150

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Chicagoans may soon be able to fly over airport traffic on their way downtown.

In two years, Chicago will become the debut city for the first commercial electric air taxi route, according to a joint press release by Archer Aviation Inc. and United Airlines.

Archer and United announced plans to launch the commercial electric air taxi service on Thursday, saying they chose Chicago because it “is the third most populous city in the United States, a center for business, innovation and investment, and home to United’s headquarters. This makes it a unique city for Archer and United to build out.”

Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will commute from O’Hare International Airpot to Vertiport Chicago, the largest vertical aircraft take-off and landing facility in North America, located in the Illinois Medical District near the Chicago Loop, the press release said.

The vehicle is powered by six battery packs and can travel at 150 mph. The aircraft has enough room for one pilot, four passengers and luggage. The commute from O’Hare to downtown Chicago can take more than an hour in regular traffic and even longer in rush hour.

“This is definitely the transportation of the future 
 it’s safe, sustainable, affordable, quiet,” Bryan Benhard, Archer’s chief growth and infrastructure officer, said. “It’s an aircraft that people will take instead of driving an hour to an hour half from downtown to [O’Hare] in 10 minutes at the cost of an Uber.”

Archer’s release says people will be able to order trips through a mobile app for around $100-$150.

The service is scheduled to launch in 2025. At the same time, a massive construction project on Chicago’s main expressway that connects the city’s downtown area to ORD is expected to create traffic nightmares.

“This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “I’m pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel.” 

Chicago won’t be Archer’s only stop. The e-taxi innovator hopes to expand the program to other major metro areas like New York City.

NewsNation correspondent Nick Smith contributed to this report.

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