Just a day before it is set to unveil its production air taxi known as Midnight, Archer announced its decision to locate its $118 million urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft manufacturing site in Covington, Georgia, about 35 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Establishing its production facility in Covington is a cross-country move for the Santa Clara, California-based company – and one motivated in part by an incentive package totaling 33% of its capital investment commitment that Georgia offered in tax breaks, grants, and land conveyances. Archer said it will spend $118 million over the next decade on the air taxi production plant, which will begin assembling UAM aircraft after its completion slated for 2024.
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The company made the announcement ahead of an event planned for Wednesday to introduce its production Midnight aircraft, which Archer hopes to have certified for operation in 2024. That overlap is likely to leave Archer guests feeling the arrival of next-generation craft and transportation is no longer very far off.
Archer said its air taxi manufacturing site will be an expanding operation, first producing 650 UAM vehicles per year before ratcheting activity closer to the estimated annual capacity of 3,200. To do so, the company says the initial 350,000-square-foot facility may be expanded with an additional 550,000 square feet of land at its disposal.
The entire complex will be located beside Covington Municipal Airport, and is expected to create 1,000 jobs as output of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) craft builds. Like other air taxi developers, Archer appears to expect costs to limit per UAM flight revenues to the extent that large-scale fleets operating at high frequencies will be needed to generate desired profits over the long term.
In addition to sweeteners offered by authorities of locations considered for its UAM craft facility, Archer said it analyzed the levels of talent in the surrounding labor markets, utility availability, ability to conduct seamless air taxi test flights, construction costs, and logistics factors before making its choice to go with Covington.
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Home to more than 800 aerospace companies, Georgia’s robust aerospace education pipeline also earned Archer’s approval, with training and aviation programs provided by high schools, technical colleges, and universities across the state.
“The U.S. has long led the world in aerospace technology, and Georgia has played a vital role in that industry,” said Archer CEO Adam Goldstein. “Our eVTOL technology can transform how urban and rural communities live and commute and this factory can create pathways to highly skilled manufacturing jobs and other ladders of social and economic opportunity.”