In the near future, traveling between O’Hare and the Near West Side might become more stylish.
United Airlines and Archer Aviation intend to operate the city’s first air taxi in 2025, transporting passengers from the Near West Side to O’Hare in around 10 minutes, according to a press release issued last week.
The route would originate at Vertiport Chicago, a heliport located at 1330 S. Wood St. to the airport, so avoiding the three-year-long work on the Kennedy Freeway.
The initiative is marketed as a “safe, sustainable, low-noise, and cost-competitive” alternative to riding an Uber or Lyft to the airport during rush hour, according to business representatives.
According to the company’s website, United has invested $10 million in Archer’s Midnight electric aircraft, which seats four people and travels at speeds of up to 150 mph, cutting hour-long journeys to minutes.
Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said in a statement, “Archer and United are dedicated to decarbonizing air travel and using innovative technology to realize the potential of the electrification of the aviation sector.”
Once established, the air taxi might extend to other regions of the city, according to officials.
The firms have not yet revealed the cost of an air taxi journey, but Archer’s head of marketing, Brian Gump, says it would be comparable to a ridesharing trip from downtown to the airport.
From Downtown, a one-way Uber Black luxury journey to O’Hare can cost between $100 and $140.00.
The second city where the air taxi wants to start is Chicago. Archer and United revealed plans for a cab service from Midtown Manhattan to Newark Liberty International Airport last year.
O’Hare was selected because it is United’s major operations center, making it a “excellent site” for United and Archer to increase their electric aviation efforts, according to business executives. It was initially unclear where the cab would land upon arrival at the airport.
The helicopter-like Nighttime aircraft still need regulatory permission, which might occur in late 2024, according to Gump.
“The FAA has informed us that the certification of [electric vertical takeoff and landing] aircraft is among the agency’s top three priorities,” he stated. Since the beginning of our aircraft’s development, we’ve collaborated closely with the FAA, and we’re progressing through the certification process quickly.
ComEd will collaborate with United and Archer to create the required power infrastructure to facilitate electric aircraft operations in the Chicago metropolitan region.
In a press statement, Governor JB Pritzker hailed the alliance, stating that it will help combat climate change.
Moreover, several businesses have begun experimenting urban mobility choices throughout the city. CBS2 stated that Eve Air Mobility is working to offer air taxis along 150 routes in the Chicago region by 2026.
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