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India may get electric air taxis in 2026; 90-min trip by car to take 7 mins

Bengaluru: InterGlobe Enterprises, which backs India’s top airline IndiGo, and US-based Archer Aviation will launch an all-electric air taxi service in India in 2026 that will be “cost-competitive” with on-road services, the companies said Thursday.

The partnership, should they get regulatory clearances, aims to capitalise on a growing need for transport solutions in the world’s most populous country that is battling severe ground travel congestion and pollution in its main cities.

Archer Aviation, backed by the likes of Chrysler-parent Stellantis, Boeing and United Airlines , makes electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that have been touted as the future of urban air mobility.

These ‘Midnight’ e-aircraft can carry four passengers and a pilot for up to 100 miles (roughly 161 kilometers). The service aims to start with 200 aircraft and begin in Delhi, the national capital, Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, and Bengaluru, known as India’s Silicon Valley.

The companies said that a trip that typically takes 60 to 90 minutes by car in Delhi, for example, will take about 7 minutes in an air taxi.

InterGlobe Enterprises, which owns nearly 38 per cent of IndiGo-parent InterGlobe Aviation as well as hospitality and logistics businesses, also plans to use the e-aircraft for cargo, logistics, medical, emergency and charter services.

Archer secured a $142 million-deal from the US Air Force in July to provide six Midnight aircraft and said in October it would launch an air taxi service in the UAE.

Archer Aviation’s shares were up 1.5 per cent in US premarket trading on Thursday, while InterGlobe Aviation’s closed up 0.12 per cent ahead of the news.

(Published 09 November 2023, 16:35 IST)

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