NATHAN DILLER | USA TODAY
Travelers flying with Delta Air Lines will soon have a new way to get to the airport. The company is partnering with Joby Aviation to offer transfers to and from airports on its electric aircraft.
Delta will begin offering the service in New York and Los Angeles in the next couple of years.
“Delta always looks forward and embraces opportunities to lead the future, and we’ve found in Joby a partner that shares our pioneering spirit and commitment to delivering innovative, seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys, and our world,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a Tuesday news release. “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 also made a $60 million equity investment in the company, exclusive across both the United States and the United Kingdom, for a five-year period.
The launch is subject to Joby receiving additional certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
How will Delta and Joby’s partnership work?
Bastian said during a media briefing that the airline will integrate Joby’s service into “all of our customer-facing channels over the next couple of years as we build out the actual road map to delivering” the offering. Joby has said it aims to launch its “aerial ridesharing service” in 2024, according to an earlier news release. Service for Delta customers will operate in addition to Joby’s regular airport service “in priority markets,” according to the Tuesday news release.
Joby’s founder and CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, said during the briefing that they aim to offer the service to and from neighborhood vertiports – designed for aircraft that take off and land vertically – close to customers’ homes, something made possible by electric propulsion and Joby’s work to make the aircraft as quiet as possible. He said they can also use existing rooftop helipad infrastructure.
Each aircraft has four passenger seats, though passenger luggage may impact how many travelers they can accommodate, Bevirt said.
The companies touted the service as a time-saver, drastically shortening what could be an hourlong – or more – trip to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, for example, to approximately 10 minutes in the air, according to Bevirt.
Passengers will land at vertiports located close to the terminal. The companies eventually aim to cut as much time out of the process as possible, potentially even landing on the tarmac, Bastian said.
How much will the service cost?
Bevirt said during the briefing that they are still determining the pricing of the service but noted that because the aircraft uses electric propulsion, it is both “more productive” and has lower operating and maintenance costs. “And the combination of those pieces means that we think that this is a service that will be widely accessible,” he said.