Delta Airlines is looking well into the future of air travel, investing in technology that sounds like something out of Blade Runner for passengers in two of its largest destinations.
Delta has made a $60 million investment in Joby Aviation, with that number to go as high as $200 million, as the company reaches milestones in its development of a new travel system.
Joby is developing all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that Delta is imagining will take passengers from their front door to the airport in Los Angeles and New York.
Imagine a combination of a helicopter and a drone, advanced technology devices capable of carrying people, landing at someone’s house, loading them, and lifting straight up and into the air for transport to the airport.
“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 release.
Collaboration With Joby Aviation
The companies will work together to integrate Joby’s service into Delta’s customer-facing channels, allowing Delta passengers to reserve a seat for the short-range journeys to and from the airport.
“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,” Bastian said.
According to Joby, the company has flown more than 1,000 test flights of the aircraft, demonstrating its range, speed, altitude, and low noise capabilities.
“We share Delta’s unwavering commitment to delivering seamless and sustainable journeys to customers,” said Joby CEO and founder JoeBen Bevirt. “Their history of innovation, along with their vast operational expertise and leadership on climate change, make them incredible partners for Joby, and it’s an honor to be working alongside them.”
No Release Date On The Flights
There is no timeline on when the flights may gain approval or when Delta and Joby might start the service.
There are also logistic questions to work out, including about how this type of aircraft will fly in and around designated airplane air space.
While those issues are still to be worked out, Delta officials are simply happy to be looking to the future.
“Addressing what matters most to our customers is foundational to our focus, and our work with Joby is the latest in a series of ways we’re making the experience of travel more seamless, enjoyable, and wait-free,” said Allison Ausband, Chief Customer Experience Officer and Executive Vice President for Delta.