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United Airlines to Buy Flying Electric Taxis to Take You to the Airport

United Airlines to Buy Flying Electric Taxis to Take You to the Airport

United Airlines wants to fly you to the airport. United Airlines Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to buy up to 200 flying taxis from an ele

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United Airlines wants to fly you to the airport.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to buy up to 200 flying taxis from an electric aircraft startup, as the airline industry seeks new technologies to reduce its carbon footprint.

The purchase would be worth $1 billion, according to Archer, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company developing the air taxis. The tentative agreement is a stamp of approval for Archer, which said Wednesday that it will go public through a combination with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that values the combined company at about $3.8 billion.

United and Mesa Air Group Inc., a regional carrier that is joining with United on the purchase, said they envision using the taxis to whisk passengers over congested highways to hub airports. The taxis, which Archer said will be capable of flying 60 miles at 150 miles an hour, could nearly halve carbon dioxide emissions for passengers traveling from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport, United said.

Airlines say technology like flying electric taxis can help them reduce emissions, though they say there isn’t currently a substitute for the jet-fuel powered engines that power most aircraft. Batteries cannot match the energy density of jet fuel, and airline executives have said that electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft may only be useful for short trips.

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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