Delta Throws $AU95 Million Into eVTOL Flying Taxi Trend

Delta Throws $AU95 Million Into eVTOL Flying Taxi Trend

It’s starting to get repeated at this point. A major American commercial airline has made a significant investment into an eVTOL flying taxi startup. American Airlines and United Airlines have already invested tens of millions of dollars into close-to-speculative ventures. Now, Delta Air Lines is joining them to leave Southwest Airlines as the last of America’s “Big Four” commercial air carriers not to get on the trend. Though, it’s not surprising that Southwest isn’t interested in offering their passengers a luxury experience.

Delta Air Lines and Joby Aviation have announced a strategic partnership with Delta investing making a $US60 ($95) million investment into the eVTOL startup. The airline could increase its investment in Joby up to $US200 ($318) million if certain unspecified development and delivery milestones are reached. Four years ago, Joby had garnered $US100 ($159) million from a roster of backers, including Toyota, JetBlue and Intel.

Delta Throws $AU95 Million Into eVTOL Flying Taxi Trend
Joby Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt (left) and Delta CEO Ed Bastian (right) at Delta’s Headquarters in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Business Wire)

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in a release:

“Delta always looks forward and embraces opportunities to lead the future, and we’ve found in Joby a partner that shares our pioneering spirit and commitment to delivering innovative, seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys, and our world. This is a groundbreaking opportunity for Delta to deliver a time-saving, uniquely premium home-to-airport solution for customers in key markets we’ve been investing and innovating in for many years.”

Joby Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt added:

“We share Delta’s unwavering commitment to delivering seamless and sustainable journeys to customers. Their history of innovation, along with their vast operational expertise and leadership on climate change, make them incredible partners for Joby, and it’s an honour to be working alongside them.”

Joby hopes to be the first company to have its eVOTL aircraft enter service, especially after receiving certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate as an air carrier. Delta expects to be the first major airline to offer “home-to-airport” transport for its customer with early plans for an initial rollout in New York and Los Angeles. I understand that the major players want to hedge their bets on the future of commercial aviation. Though, eVTOLs seem like the longest of long shots, even longer than the return of supersonic passenger services.

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