Future of Travel

A New Electric Air Taxi Route Will Take Travelers From Newark Airport to Manhattan in Minutes

A partnership between United Airlines and Archer Aviation, the service is slated to debut in 2025.
United Airlines Is Launching the FirstEver Electric Air Taxi Route Flying Between Newark Airport and Manhattan
Courtesy Archer Aviation

Long drives to the airport on traffic-choked roads may soon be a distant vestige of travel. The rise of air taxi routes—operated by electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL)—promises to slash many miles-long commutes to the airport to just a few minutes. 

On Thursday, the eVTOL industry took a major step toward making this a reality: United Airlines and Archer Aviation, an eVTOL aircraft manufacturer, announced they're launching the first-ever air taxi route between New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport and Manhattan. The service, slated to debut in 2025, is the world's first definitive route announcement for an eVTOL aircraft. 

Flown by Archer's all-electric, four-passenger Midnight aircraft, the new route will whittle down travel time between Newark and Manhattan to less than 10 minutes. (A journey by car can take more than an hour due to traffic.) United will use the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, on Pier 6 just above Battery Park, as its flight base on the island.

Archer's Midnight eVTOL aircraft will operate on an electric battery and accommodate up to four passengers.

Courtesy Archer Aviation

Similar air transfers from Manhattan to JFK airport in Queens have previously been offered by helicopter companies like Blade. But eVTOL aircraft are a quieter and more sustainable alternative. “Once operational, electric air taxis will fundamentally change how United customers experience comfort, convenience, and efficiency during their commutes to the airport,” Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said in a release on Thursday. “Archer’s New York to Newark route marks another important benchmark towards providing a carbon-neutral and safe commute that drastically reduces the travel time and produces a fraction of the sound emitted by helicopters." 

It's not clear how much a ticket on the eVTOL aircraft will cost, but for comparison, fares on Blade's helicopter routes to JFK start at $195 one way.  

United and Archer have plans to launch similar airport-to-city-center routes across the country. The New York launch is “the first of many routes we’ll be announcing alongside United as we work to build out our national UAM [urban air mobility] network,” according to Archer’s founder and CEO, Adam Goldstein. In August, United spent $10 million on a down payment for 100 of Archer's eVTOL aircraft, indicating that a rapid expansion of similar routes could be in the pipeline.