Archer Aviation expands UAE presence with purchase plan up to 100 eVTOLs valued at $500M

One month to the day after announcing a partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch its initial eVTOL operations in the Middle East, advanced air mobility developer Archer Aviation is celebrating another potential deal worth up to $500 million. Here’s the latest.

Archer Aviation ($ACHR) should still be a top of mind name for many of Electrek’s avid readers, as this is the fourth time we’ve covered the zero-emission aircraft developer the past 30 days. At the end of October, we saw Archer complete the maiden test flight of its flagship Midnight eVTOL, as it targets commercial air taxi operations by 2026.

Just last week, Archer shared that part of those early air taxi operations will take place in India, following a recently signed agreement that includes delivery of up to 200 Midnight eVTOLs to the region.

Before then however, Archer plans to launch initial eVTOL operations in the UAE, following a signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to launch commercial air taxi operations across the region by 2026.

Following that memorandum, Archer has now signed a second agreement with a private aviation operator local to the UAE, that includes terms for the purchase of hundreds of eVTOLs valued in the hundreds of millions.

Archer UAE
His Excellence Badr Salim Al-Olama, Archer CEO Adam Goldstein, and CCO Nikhil Goel during a signing ceremony announcing Archer’s plans to make the UAE its first international launch partner.

Archer signs MOU with Air Chateau in UAE

Archer shared details of its latest Memorandum Of Understanding signed during the 2023 Dubai Air Show held in the UAE this week. The MOU was signed by Air Chateau – a last-mile air transport specialist and the first private heliport operator in the UAE to have its heliport and lounge terminal at the land side of Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport.

The signed MOU includes plans for Air Chateau to purchase up to 100 of Archer’s Midnight aircraft, valued around $500M. That sale process will begin with an initial non-refundable, pre-delivery payment of $1 million, due to Archer by December 31, 2023. Air Chateau chairman and founder Dr. Samir Mohamed spoke to the fresh deal with Archer:

This remarkable opportunity signifies the ongoing evolution of Air Chateau, heralding a transformative era in our industry. Embarking on our journey into being an infrastructure provider two years ago for helicopters, today, we stand at the precipice of realizing our vision for the future of urban air mobility with eVTOLs in Dubai and across the UAE. The support of our visionary partners has been instrumental in our journey, and as we unveil this exciting chapter, we are privileged to share a collective vision. We are very grateful for having the opportunity to pave the way for the future of Air Mobility in Dubai with Archer.

Looking ahead, the two companies will collaborate to finalize definitive agreements pertaining to the planned eVTOL purchase over the coming months. $4 million of additional pre-delivery payments are also in the works, following the MOU signing. Air Chateau says it intends to own and operate the Midnight eVTOL fleet itself following Archer’s delivery to the UAE.

That process should be supported by Archer’s previously laid plans to implement an engineering Center of Excellence in the UAE to support the growing advanced air mobility industry in the Middle East.

Very quickly, the Middle East is becoming a major hub for early eVTOL air taxi operations.

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