Archer Aviation receives FAA certification to begin commercial air taxi operations

One week after sharing plans to bring commercial eVTOL operations to South Korea, advanced air mobility developer Archer Aviation is touting a key milestone in the US. The eVTOL air taxi manufacturer has received Part 135 certification from the FAA – a vital certificate to begin commercial flights – and Archer is now one of two air taxi companies worldwide to confirm the receipt of one.

Archer Aviation ($ACHR) is a Santa Clara, California-based eVTOL developer that continues to pepper the public with milestones reached in both its native US and around the world.

During a Q2 2023 call with investors last summer, Archer reported that its flagship Midnight eVTOL aircraft had received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. This means the aircraft has met all FAA safety requirements and can begin flight tests.

With (special) airworthiness certification from the FAA already in place and investments from big names like United Airlines, Stellantis, and even the US Air Force, Archer has also begun expanding to new regions around the globe in recent years.

In the fall of 2023, Archer announced plans to launch eVTOL air taxi services across the United Arab Emirates. This was followed by a deal to bring air taxi operations to India and bolstered plans in the UAE in a new deal worth an estimated $500 million.

Just last week, Archer announced a new partnership with KaKaoMobility in South Korea to begin commercial eVTOL air taxi operations in the country by 2026.

While those international expansions continue, Archer has moved one step closer to commercial eVTOL air taxi operations in the United States thanks to a new FAA certification.

Archer air taxi
The FAA presenting Archer’s Airline Team and representatives from United with Archer’s Part 135 Certificate. / Source: Archer Aviation

Archer Air is FAA certified, but its Midnight air taxi isn’t yet

Archer Aviation detailed exactly what its latest FAA certification means for the sustainable air mobility developer. The company’s airline subsidiary, Archer Air, has received its Part 135 Air Carrier & Operator Certificate from the FAA, enabling it to begin operating aircraft commercially. Per the release:

 The Part 135 certificate signals that Archer Air has developed, and demonstrated to the FAA its adherence to, the necessary policies and procedures to begin operating aircraft commercially in accordance with the stringent safety and operational standards set forth by the FAA. Today’s achievement is another key step that demonstrates Archer’s work with the FAA continues to gain momentum as Archer is now one of two air taxi manufacturers in the world to have announced receipt of a Part 135 certificate from the FAA.

While Archer Air is now certified for commercial operations, its Midnight eVTOL is not. Archer is still seeking Type certification for its eVTOL air taxi aircraft and said now that its Part 135 is in place, it will begin with conventional aircraft to refine its airline systems and procedures before launching the Midnight air taxis into service for United Airlines and others.

The company will simultaneously continue to pursue Typer certification for Midnight while it establishes key factors like repair and charging infrastructure and vertiports. Archer states the FAA has issued the final airworthiness criteria for its Midnight aircraft, setting the rigorous to-do list for Archer to comply with so it can begin commercial air taxi rides with its flagship four-passenger eVTOL.

Archer hasn’t shared a hard timeline for when the Midnight will receive its Type certification, but Part 135 and Part 134 (repairs) certs in place is a big step for an exciting air taxi company. Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein shared a similar sentiment:

We are honored to receive the Part 135 Air Carrier & Operator Certificate from the FAA, which is another important stepping stone on the way to commencing commercial air taxi operations with our Midnight aircraft. This milestone reflects our team’s unwavering dedication to safety and operational excellence as we stand up one of the world’s first electric air taxi services, providing communities across the U.S. with a safe, sustainable, and low-noise transportation solution.

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