Two air taxi makers descended on New York City on 12 November to show the capabilities of their electric aircraft ahead of planned operations as soon as 2025.
US air taxi developer Joby Aviation and Germany’s Volocopter, both considered front-runners in the race to launch passenger operations with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, flew their aircraft before a backdrop of skyscrapers and the Brooklyn Bridge during a ceremony attended by New York Mayor Eric Adams and other city officials.
The event was framed as the beginning of a new era of urban air mobility and a preview of regular air taxi flights in New York City.
“Here at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, we are going to establish the world’s first heliport with the electric-powered [aircraft] of this nature,” Adams told attendees, adding that the site would “become a new hub for sustainable transportation”.
Joby’s flight was shortly followed by Volocopter’s 2X prototype, which has flown previously in Singapore, and in Las Vegas.
The company says its ”multicopter design is particularly suited for short- to mid-range urban missions, producing zero emissions in flight and very little noise pollution that is hardly audible in a busy metropolis like NYC”.
Joby plans to be right behind with FAA certification in 2025. The company is working with its partner Delta Air Lines to develop “best-in-class take-off and landing infrastructure that is tightly coupled with their terminals and LaGuardia and JFK”, the company says.
“Delta passengers can go from their Delta flight and onto a Joby flight and be right here at the downtown helipad in just seven minutes.”
Electric air taxis to revolutionize travel in cities
Rival eVTOL maker Archer Aviation also has it sights set on New York. The California company says it is on pace to launch passenger operations in 2025 and plans to launch in New York City through its partnership with United Airlines.
Archer Aviation has partnered with India’s travel and hospitality conglomerate InterGlobe Enterprises to launch an all-electric air taxi service in the country in 2026.
If successful, it would make the South Asian nation its second international market outside the U.S. to experience its ambitious air taxi operations after the United Arab Emirates.
EVTOL vehicles aim to revolutionize travel between relatively short distances and transport in urban environments around the world.
Volocopter aims to make history as its electric aircraft will serve as a flying taxi service for the expected 600,000 guests who will be attending the Paris Olympics and all traveling to the celebrations and following a 6km route.
Electric air taxis in Greece
Electric aircraft to be acquired by Aria Hotels, one of the hospitality subsidiaries of the Libra Group, will offer a new traveling experience in Greece.
Starting around 2026 and in partnership with LCI Aviation, a sister company within the Libra Group, Aria Hotels will provide holiday-goers vacationing in and around its fifty properties across Greece with access to electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) to traverse Greece and its exceptional islands.
This paradigm-shifting technology allows guests to travel in a sustainable, time-efficient, and economical fashion, which is net-carbon zero, helping to protect the stunning ecosystem, Aria Hotels says in the announcement.