Delta Air Lines will integrate Joby Aviation's electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft into its customer-facing channels to create a sustainable home-to-airport transportation service for the airline's customers.
The premium service, which will run alongside Joby’s standard airport service in priority markets, will initially launch in New York and Los Angeles. Details surrounding the specific timeline for the service's rollout and its price point were not disclosed.
"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," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.
Under the agreement, Delta has made an upfront equity investment of $60 million in Joby with the opportunity to expand that investment to $200 million as the companies work toward launching the service. Delta owns a 2% stake in Joby and has a seat on the company's board of directors.
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The partnership will be exclusive across the U.S. and U.K. for five years following commercial launch, with the potential for an extension.
Joby’s eVTOL aircraft, which have flown more than 1,000 test flights, are designed to transport a pilot and four passengers up to 150 miles on a single charge at speeds of up to 200 mph.
Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt told reporters on Monday that the aircraft will take off from a network of so-called vertiports that will be built in neighborhoods. Bevirt estimates that a hypothetical trip to John F. Kennedy International Airport could be cut from an hour or more to less than 10 minutes by air.
Joby is aiming to officially launch commercial service in 2024.
In May, Joby was granted a Part 135 air carrier certification by the Federal Aviation Administration, one of three approvals required to operate as an air taxi service in cities and communities across the U.S. The company must also receive a type certification on its aircraft and production certification on its production facilities.
Joby reported a net loss of $46.6 million during the second quarter of 2022, including total operating expenses of $99.4 million, reflecting continued progress in certifying its aircraft and early manufacturing operations. As of the end of the second quarter, the company had $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments to support operations.
Delta is not the only company to invest in eVTOL aircraft.
Last month, United Airlines announced a $15 million investment in Embraer-backed startup Eve Air Mobility. The carrier agreed to buy 200 four-seat electric aircraft with options for 200 more. The first deliveries are expected as early as 2026.
In August, United placed a $10 million deposit for 100 eVTOL aircraft from Archer Aviation. Last year, the company agreed to order up to 200 of Archer's flying taxis. The deal is worth approximately $1 billion, with an option to purchase an additional $500 million worth of aircraft. Archer is aiming to launch as early as 2024.
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In July, American Airlines also reserved delivery slots for Vertical Aerospace's first 50 VX4 aircraft after placing a conditional pre-order of up to 250 aircraft. The $1 billion deal includes an option for an additional 100 aircraft.
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In January 2020, Toyota Motor Company said it would invest $394 million in Joby.