United Airlines announced a $15 million investment in Embraer-backed electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) Eve Air Mobility, along with a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft plus 200 options.

First delivery of the new electric aircraft are expected as early as 2026.

eVTOL aircraft use electric motors, rather than traditional combustion engines to provide carbon-free flights, and can be used to provide “air taxi” service in urban markets. Eve was launched by aircraft manufacturer Embraer in 2020, as part of the company’s initiative to commercialize its eVTOL designs. Eve recently listed on the NYSE through a business combination with SPAC Zanite Acquisition Corp (renamed Eve Holding Inc), raising nearly $360 million through the transaction, and with Embraer retaining an 82% stake in the company.

According to United, the company’s investment in Eve was driven by both its anticipation of growth opportunities in the urban air mobility (UAM) market, and Eve’s relationship with Embraer, which includes access to Embraer’s service centers, parts warehouses and field service technicians.

Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve, said:

“United’s investment in Eve reinforces the trust in our products and services and strengthens our position in the North American market. I am confident that our UAM agnostic solutions, coupled with the global know-how we have been developing at Eve and Embraer’s heritage, are the best fit for this initiative, giving United’s customers a quick, economical and sustainable way to get to its hub airports and commute in dense urban environments.”

According to Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures, the agreement also forms part of the airline company’s efforts to reach its net zero goals. United Airlines has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 100% by 2050 without relying on carbon offsets, and has announced a series of initiatives to reach its goal, including major investments in sustainable aviation fuel, and the launch of its sustainable aviation-focused venture fund, United Airlines Ventures. The agreement with Eve follows the company’s announcement last month of an order for 100 aircraft from eVTOL developer Archer.

Leskinen said:

“United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation. Today, United is making history again, by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies.”

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