Delta is betting on the future of flight and that future is flying taxis.
- It’s no shocker that major cities like Los Angeles and New York are backed up for hours with traffic—especially around the airports.
- In an effort to fix that Delta Air Lines has made a $60 million investment in air-taxi company Joby Aviation Inc.
- The airline is hoping that through this investment it will be able to bring flying-taxi rides to and from airports starting in Los Angeles and New York.
Why it’s important
When planning for a flight people typically leave a few hours before their plane is set to leave to give time for any mishaps.
One major reason people leave early is because traffic is unpredictable, especially around airports in major cities—but that could be a thing of the past.
With flying taxis, passengers won’t have to leave three hours early to beat traffic; they can just hop right in and fly over the traffic directly to the airport.
Delta’s investment in Joby gives the airline a 2% stake in the taxi company, which has also been backed by ride hailing company Uber. Delta said its investment could grow up to $200 million if certain milestones in the development and delivery of the service are reached, according to the company’s website.
“I’m optimistic that there are better ways, and certainly more sustainable ways, to get to the airport than sitting in one to two hour traffic jams on the way to JFK or LaGuardia or LAX,” says Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Others adopting air-taxis
United Airlines made a big investment in electric vehicles, by announcing a $15-million investment in Eve Air Mobility, a company that produces electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts (eVTOL).
United also signed a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat eVTOLs plus 200 options with first deliveries expected as early as 2026, according to the Eve news release.
Rome is also planning to have air-taxis in place for visitors of the 2025 Vatican Jubilee.
Delta is doing things differently than these companies. Instead of buying Joby’s planes and using Delta pilot’s to fly them, the company is planning to outsource them and offer the service as an add-on package.
The two companies are unsure when the offering will be launched, but Joby hopes to have taxis in the air for commercial use by 2024.