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In an aim to solidify its commitment to purchasing Archer Aviation’s eVTOL aircraft, United Airlines has placed a US$10 million pre-delivery payment for 100 of the startup’s initial production vehicles.
Archer calls the down payment a “watershed moment for the eVTOL industry, validating confidence in the commercialization of eVTOL aircraft.” The company believes this is among the first of its kind for the nascent sector where nearly all provisional sales of eVTOL aircraft lack cash deposits or a formal payment schedule.
“To receive a cash deposit is validation of Archer’s achievements to date, not only with flight testing and product development, but also a great signal of confidence in our roadmap to commercialization,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO, in a press release. “We’re thankful to United for their continued partnership as we usher in this new era in air travel.”
In 2021, United announced an order for up to 200 of Archer’s aircraft valued at $1 billion, with an option for an additional $500 million of aircraft. And in April, the companies formed a joint advisory committee, allowing Archer to tap into United’s expertise in airline maintenance and operations as the startup prepares to type certify its production vehicle with U.S. aviation authorities in 2024.
During a second-quarter earnings call, Archer told shareholders that it has successfully completed two phases of the flight test program for its Maker demonstration prototype. This includes all the required tests and performance milestones while in hover, and its “critical azimuth” tests to validate the crosswind capabilities of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft configuration and flight control systems.