COVINGTON, Ga. — A company whose “mission is to unlock the skies” has begun construction on its new Covington facility that will produce hundreds of vertical takeoff aircraft annually.
Archer Aviation Inc. announced it began construction March 2 on a site adjacent to Covington Municipal Airport for the facility to manufacture electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL ) aircraft, the company said in a news release.
“This achievement will be marked with a ceremonial event in April,” the release stated.
Santa Clara, California-based Archer is planning a $118 million complex on 96 acres of city-owned land on the western edge of the airport between Williams and Airport roads.
Hiring was expected to begin late this year and the facility was slated to open in the first three months of 2024, the company announced in November. Employment could reach 1,000 jobs, officials said.
The planned 350,000-square-foot facility will be capable of producing up to 650 aircraft per year. It also will be designed for possible expansion by 800,000 square feet, which is estimated to support long-term production targets of up to 2,300 aircraft per year, the company said.
“This type of high-volume manufacturing facility is believed to be a first for the eVTOL industry,” Archer officials said.
Archer’s manufacturing facility was a joint project between the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, Covington city government, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Electric Membership Corp. Economic Development Division.
Covington City Council in January approved an agreement for the company to lease the land as part of a tax abatement plan in exchange for producing the jobs and investment it is promising.
The company announced Tuesday it had approved a local incentives deal that, along with a state Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) grant, comprised about one-third of the planned capital investment in the plant.
Georgia was chosen over Texas and others competing for the company’s first manufacturing facility, according to sources.
Archer announced in January a partnership with Stellantis to make the automaker the exclusive contract manufacturer for mass production of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft.
Company founder and CEO Adam Goldstein said, “The key to unlocking the promise of what the eVTOL aircraft industry can bring is scale, and we are thrilled by the support of the state of Georgia and Newton County are providing to this first of its kind facility in such an exciting new industry.
“We are thrilled to be taking this next important step as we work closely with Stellantis to ramp up our high-volume manufacturing capabilities at this new facility in Covington, Georgia,” Goldstein said.
The partnership with Stellantis will leverage each company’s respective strengths and competencies to bring the Midnight aircraft to market, the release stated. Stellantis produces such vehicle brands as Jeep, Ram and Maserati.
“Archer brings its team of eVTOL, electric powertrain and certification experts while Stellantis will contribute advanced manufacturing technology and expertise, experienced personnel and capital to the partnership,” officials said.
“The combination is intended to enable the rapid scaling of aircraft production to meet Archer’s commercialization plans, while allowing Archer to strengthen its path to commercialization by helping it avoid hundreds of millions of dollars of spending during the manufacturing ramp-up phase.”
Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks.
“Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time,” the release stated.