Delta Air Lines and Joby have formed a strategic partnership to launch eVTOL operations for Delta's customers. (Photo courtesy of Rank Studios)
Delta Air Lines has entered into a long-term partnership with Joby Aviation to launch electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft services. The airline also made an upfront equity investment in Joby totaling $60 million, with the possibility of expanding that investment to $200 million.
Delta and Joby will collaborate to offer eVTOL flights to Delta’s customers. They will initially target those traveling through New York and Los Angeles for a short-range home-to-airport transportation service operated by Joby. This premium service will operate in addition to the standard airport service that Joby will offer.
The strategic partnership between Delta and Joby extends to five years after the commercial launch of eVTOL operations. It also includes the potential to extend the partnership beyond that time frame.
The agreement confirms Delta as the exclusive airline partner of Joby within the U.S. and the UK, and Joby as the exclusive eVTOL partner for Delta in the U.S. and UK as well.
Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, remarked in the announcement that Joby shares their commitment to offering an innovative and seamless customer experience. “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,” he commented.
The new partnership includes a $60M initial investment from Delta to support development and certification of Joby's eVTOL aircraft, pictured above. (Photo: Joby Aviation)
“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,” explained Allison Ausband, Delta’s E.V.P. and Chief Customer Experience Officer, regarding the partnership with Joby.
Joby received the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate in June, one year after the company’s initial application. This milestone enabled Joby to start on-demand commercial operations with air taxis.
The eVTOL developer expects to begin operations in 2024 after achieving FAA type certification. In addition, Joby’s team has applied formally to concurrently validate its FAA type certification in the UK.
Joby completed its first Systems Review and Compliance Review at the end of 2021. The eVTOL developer announced FAA approval of these reviews in March 2022.
In August, Joby expanded an existing contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The contract’s total potential value increased to more than $75 million. The expanded contract allows the U.S. Marine Corps to participate in flight tests with Joby’s eVTOL and evaluate use cases of the aircraft, along with the Army, Navy, and Air Force.