Archer Aviation aims to launch all-electric air taxi service in India in 2026

Archer Aviation, the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle startup, has partnered with India's travel and hospitality conglomerate InterGlobe Enterprises to launch an all-electric air taxi service in the country in 2026. If successful, it would make the South Asian nation its second international market outside the U.S. to experience its ambitious air taxi operations after the United Arab Emirates.

Both companies said Thursday that the service, subject to regulatory approvals and clearances, will be "cost-competitive with ground transportation" and improve urban mobility in the world's most populous country with low-noise electric air taxis. The partnership plans to finance the purchase of up to 200 Archer's "Midnight" aircraft. The vertical takeoff and landing aircraft has a capacity of four passengers and a pilot and can fly for up to 100 miles.

Starting with routes in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, the electric air-taxi service aims to complete about a 17-mile trip in the national capital in 7 minutes — a journey that typically takes 60 to 90 minutes by car.

Archer and InterGlobe plan to work with domestic businesses to operate the electric aircraft, finance and build vertiport infrastructure, and train pilots and other personnel needed for the operations. Both companies are also looking to explore different use cases for the aircraft apart from being into the urban air taxi service, including cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services, as well as private company and charter services.

Counts Boeing and United Airlines among its investors, Archer secured a $142 million deal in August to provide up to six Midnight flights to the U.S. Air Force. The California-based company wants to replace car commutes with its eVTOL flights in urban areas. In August, the company secured Federal Aviation Administration certification to begin testing eVTOL flights in the U.S. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office last month to start its service in the United Arab Emirates in 2026.

"India is one of, if not the largest opportunity for eVTOL aircraft utilization in the world, as it is home to the world's largest population of over 1.4 billion people and its largest cities face some of the greatest congestion challenges in the world," said Archer CEO and founder Adam Goldstein, in a prepared statement. "Archer's all-electric Midnight aircraft is designed to provide a revolutionary transportation solution that can help address these congestion issues."

InterGlobe Enterprises, which backs India's top air carrier IndiGo, looks to expand its presence in affordable transportation with the new partnership.

"We are excited at this new opportunity of bringing an effective, futuristic and sustainable transport solution by introducing Archer's electric aircraft to India," said Rahul Bhatia, group managing director of InterGlobe.

Urban transportation in India has started facing challenges as the country has seen a rapid increase in the number of passenger and commercial vehicles in the last few years, alongside limited road expansion and non-uniform roadway geometrics across cities. While state authorities have emphasized the use of public transport to reduce traffic congestion, the country has not yet found an adequate solution and is looking at next-generation options, including air taxis and hyperloop, to get a sustainable future.