CHICAGO - A United Airlines executive has provided detail on how the airline could utilize its burgeoning fleet of electric aircraft in the future, with plans for commercial flights by the end of the 2020s, Stephen Jones reports for Business Insider. Continue reading original article.
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10 October 2022 - "Initially we want to fly on routes that are 200 miles or less," Mike Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, the carrier's in-house venture capital arm, said, during a video interview at CNBC's ESG Impact Virtual Conference on Thursday. As the technology improves, aircraft will have a range of 250 miles or 300 miles, Leskinen said.
Last month, United Airlines announced a $15 million investment in Brazil-based Eve Air Mobility. In addition, United has also signed a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft plus 200 options, expecting the first deliveries as early as 2026. This continues United's investment in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market, also called "flying taxis" – or eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle).
Rather than relying on traditional combustion engines, eVTOL aircraft are designed to use electric motors, providing carbon-free flights and to be used as 'air taxis' in urban markets. Eve's design uses conventional fixed wings, rotors and pushers, giving it a practical and intuitive lift-plus-cruise design, which favors safety, efficiency, reliability and certifiability. With a range of 60 miles (100 km), its vehicle has the potential not only to offer a sustainable commute but also to reduce noise levels by 90 percent compared to current conventional aircraft. Eve is also creating a new air traffic management solution designed for the UAM industry to scale safely. This software is intended to perform at the same safety level as Embraer's existing air traffic management software and expected to be a strategic asset to helping the entire industry grow.
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor