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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Future of transport: electric air taxis gear up for lift-off after boost from regulator

German company Volocopter aims to launch its high-tech service in the US and Europe in 2021

Electric air taxis could be about to move a crucial step closer to take-off in 2021, with a German company planning to launch the futuristic service in the US and Europe.

Volocopter had the first phase of its application to bring the high-tech mode of transport to the skies approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The decision means electric air taxis could become an everyday reality in the near future.

The company is no stranger to the UAE, with test flights for another model aircraft taking place in Dubai during 2017. The company said it was the first public demonstration of an autonomous urban air taxi.

Volocopter announced the FAA approved its “application for concurrent type certificate validation”, which meant it was closer to receiving full approval to operate its VoloCity model in the US, as well as Europe.

“From the beginning, we have considered the US an important market for our services,” said Florian Reuter, chief executive of Volocopter.

“Certification is the key to this market and we are excited to begin the process of seeking approval from the FAA to introduce this innovative era of mobility, not only in Europe and Asia but also in the US.”

The VoloCity has a maximum speed of 110kph and a range of 35 kilometres. The electric vehicle can carry two passengers.

Volocopter announced last year that it hoped to introduce its service within the next two or three years. It used an area on the outskirts of Paris as a testing centre.

The company aims to have VoloCity operational in time for the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympics, which are scheduled to take place in the French capital.

Volocopter is so confident the project will be a success that it began selling tickets for the first flights last year.

A reservation for a 15-minute flight on the aircraft will set you back $355.

Volocopter said its confidence in the project was based on successful test flights in Germany, Finland and Singapore.

Updated: January 18, 2021 02:22 PM

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