United Airlines invests in Eve and signs for 200 eVTOL aircraft

United Airlines has invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility and has reached a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric planes plus 200 options calling for first deliveries as early as 2026, the Chicago-based carrier announced Thursday. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies intend to work on future projects, including studies on the development, use and application of Eve’s aircraft and the mobility ecosystem. urban aerial (UAM).

United’s latest commitment comes less than a month after it filed a $10 million deposit on 100 eVTOL aircraft with Archer Aviation. In February 2021, the airline signed a tentative deal with Archer to purchase up to 200 of its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft in a deal valued at $1 billion. At the time, Archer said payment before delivery was one of the first of its kind in the fledgling eVTOL industry following announcements by several manufacturers of tentative sales that appear unsupported by any type of formal payment or deposit schedule.

“United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, affirming our leadership position in aviation sustainability and innovation,” said the president of United Airlines Ventures, Michael Leskinen. “Today, United is making history again by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies. Our agreement with Eve underscores our confidence in the urban air mobility market and is another important benchmark towards our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, without using traditional offsets.

United became the first major US airline to create a venture capital fund with the creation of United Airlines Ventures (UAV), created to support the company’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 without using traditional offsets. With drones, United claims a leadership position in investments in eVTOL and electric aircraft, hydrogen fuel cell engines and sustainable aviation fuel.

United says its belief in the growth opportunities in the UAM market and Eve’s unique relationship with Embraer partly motivated its investment in developer eVTOL. The Eve-Embraer relationship provides access to the Brazilian manufacturer’s service centers, parts warehouses and field service technicians. United expects Eve’s service and support operations to support its entire eVTOL fleet. Meanwhile, United joins the Eve-led consortium created to simulate UAM operations in Chicago from September 12.

“United’s investment in Eve builds confidence in our products and services and strengthens our position in the North American market,” said Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve. “I am confident that our UAM-independent solutions, combined with the global know-how we are developing in the legacy of Eve and Embraer, are best suited for this initiative, providing United customers with a fast, economical and sustainable to travel to its hub airports and move around dense urban environments. This is an unprecedented opportunity to work with United to advance the American UAM ecosystem, and we look forward to it.

Eve Holdings was born in May with the business combination between Embraer and special purpose acquisition company Zanite, enshrined in a public listing on the New York Stock Exchange that generated proceeds of $377 million. Under the terms of the deal, Embraer now owns a 90% stake in aircraft developer eVTOL while Zanite shareholders and several other investors control the balance.

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