IndiGo's parent company InterGlobe plans to launch electric air taxis in India
By siliconindia | Friday, 10 November 2023, 09:41:53 AM IST
InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent company of IndiGo, plans to launch an all-electric air taxi service in India in 2026 through a partnership with Archer Aviation, a US-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch the service after obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals and clearances. California-based Archer Aviation has the backing of major players in the aviation industry, such as Boeing, United Airlines, and Stellantis.
"Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Director of InterGlobe, and Nikhil Goel, Chief Commercial Officer of Archer, signed an MoU to form a proposed partnership through which the parties aim to provide a revolutionary transportation solution for the country, improving urban mobility with safe, sustainable, and low-noise electric air taxi service that is cost-competitive with ground transportation", a joint release by the two companies said.
InterGlobe Enterprises and Archer Aviation have joined forces to bring electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to India. The partnership aims to finance the purchase of up to 200 Archer's Midnight eVTOL aircraft for operations in India. They also plan to work with select in-country business partners to operate the aircraft, build vertiport infrastructure, and train pilots and other personnel needed for operations. Apart from urban air taxi services, the partnership aims to explore various use cases for electric aircraft in India, including cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services, and charter services.
As the name suggests, an eVTOL aircraft uses electricity to hover, take off, and land vertically. eVTOL aircraft are being seen as the future of urban mobility. Apart from air taxis in urban areas, other potential use cases for eVTOL aircraft include segments like package delivery, air cargo, agriculture, and emergency medical services. Several developed countries have announced plans to launch eVTOL-based air taxi services over the next few years.
India must have eVTOL-specific policies and regulations, and the necessary infrastructure for their operations is nonexistent. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is looking to develop an ecosystem for such aircraft in the country, focusing on their operations and local manufacturing, given that India, with its densely-populated cities and increasing urbanization, is a large potential market for eVTOL aircraft.
"India is one of, if not the largest opportunity for eVTOL aircraft utilization in the world, as it is home to the world's largest population of over 1.4 billion people and its largest cities face some of the greatest congestion challenges in the world. Archer's all-electric Midnight aircraft is designed to provide a revolutionary transportation solution that can help address these congestion issues", said Adam Goldstein, Archer Aviation's founder and chief executive officer.
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