Delta Air Lines has invested $60 million in Joby Aviation, which is developing an eVTOL, an electrically powered air cab. The airline is prepared to raise up to $200 million as milestones are reached in the development of the service.
EVTOL to replace helicopter
Delta Air Lines' $60 million investment in U.S.-based Joby Aviation, which is developing an eVTOL or ADAVe, an electrically powered air cab, is part of a multiyear, multi-market commercial and operational partnership. The goal is to offer an air cab service to airline customers between a location near their home or business meeting place and the airports in New York and Los Angeles. Or vice versa. This type of service already exists and is currently provided by helicopter. The objective is therefore to eventually take eVTOL to replace the helicopter.
Use existing heliports
While waiting for a network of "vertiports" to be gradually set up, Delta Air Lines and Joby Aviation will moreover use existing heliports in New York, which has three, and Los Angeles, where they are more numerous, to "break in" the future air cab service. This approach makes sense and has the advantage of limiting investments. It now remains to know the timetable for the implementation of the air cab service and that relies for the moment a lot on the progress made in the development of Joby Aviation's eVTOL, which aims at an aircraft capable of taking five people with a range of 241 km.
A crash in February 2022
Joby Aviation's demonstrator has been in testing for some time now and has completed more than 1,000 test flights, gaining a gradual maturity that means Joby Aviation is still currently the only company officiating in the eVTOL or ADAVe segment to have signed a G-1 (stage 4) certification basis for its aircraft with the FAA. The test program suffered a crash last February, with one of the remotely piloted prototypes crashing during a flight in Jolon, California. Without this affecting Delta Air Lines' decision to invest in the program.
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