Flying taxis moved a step closer to becoming a fixture buzzing across urban skyscapes, as a closely watched effort was unveiled in Los Angeles and startups in the U.K. and Brazil made commercial breakthroughs. From a report: Vertical Aerospace Group, based in Bristol, England, won conditional orders for as many as 1,000 electric aircraft that could total $4 billion from buyers including American Airlines Group and Virgin Atlantic Airways, it said late Thursday. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Embraer SA said it’s in talks to merge its unit developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft into a public company, sending the stock surging.
And in California, startup Archer Aviation showcased its future eVTOL after nabbing a $20 million investment from United Airlines Holdings. The carrier plans to buy as many as 200 of the aircraft, dubbed Maker. While none are certified for commercial use, approvals for electric flying taxis could come as early as 2024, according to Europe’s top aviation regulator. Airlines are placing orders because they see the potential to develop a new business tied to local transport, as their main activity shuttling people on longer trips comes under pressure over carbon emissions and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.