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Delta invests in electric air taxi startup Joby, plans last-mile airport service

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A Joby Aviation Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft outside the Latest York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through the company’s initial public offering in Latest York, U.S., on Aug. 11, 2021.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines, which has watched competitors map future plans with electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft startups, is joining the growing list of airlines trying to make short trips to and from airports faster and easier.  

The carrier is investing $60 million in startup Joby Aviation, which is planning to construct and operate an electrical vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or eVTOL, effectively an air taxi.  

Delta will even have an exclusive five-year partnership with Joby operating eVTOLs as a part of the Delta network.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian envisions moving passengers to and from airports quicker and with less hassle.

“We’ll flash them a chance to reinforce that have by taking a Joby vehicle from someplace near their home or their business right into the airport experience and cut out 50%, if no more, of their travel time on the bottom.”

Initially, Joby and Delta will goal eVTOL service to and from airports in Latest York City and Los Angeles, though the businesses envision the service growing to other airports across the country and eventually overseas.

“The airport routes are the cornerstone routes for any city constructing really helpful infrastructure that’s near the terminal and may save customers time is critical,” Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt told CNBC.

Delta’s cope with Joby means the three legacy airlines within the U.S. have all taken stakes with eVTOL startups.  

American Airlines has invested $25 million in Vertical Aerospace and ordered 50 aircraft from the U.K.-based company.

United Airlines has two eVTOL investments and aircraft orders. One for $15 million with Eve Air Mobility while ordering 200 aircraft. The opposite for $10 million with Archer Aviation and an order for 100 Archer eVTOLs.

Within the last yr, eVTOL stocks like Joby have struggled as investors moved away from pre-revenue corporations.

When will that day come for Joby and other eVTOL corporations? It is dependent upon when their aircraft are certified and enter business service.  

Some are targeting 2024, but Joby CEO Bevirt won’t commit to a launch date. “There are pieces inside our control and there are pieces that will not be in our control, so I can not offer you a firm date,” he said.

Correction: This text has been updated to correct the spelling of Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt’s name.

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