UPS to buy electric aircraft to cut delivery time for small markets

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for United Parcel Service (UPS), is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - United Parcel Service has agreed to buy 10 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Vermont-based startup Beta Technologies to speed up deliveries in small markets, the U.S. package delivery company said on Wednesday.

With a 250-mile range and cruising speed of up to 170 miles per hour, the aircraft’s 1,400-pound cargo capacity is suited to quickly transport time-sensitive deliveries that would otherwise fly on small fixed-wing aircraft, the company said.

UPS has an option to purchase up to 150 of the electric aircraft from Beta, with the first 10 planes starting to arrive in 2024.

BETA’s aircraft are designed to someday operate autonomously as technologies and regulations are established, UPS said.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila