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Paris opens flying taxi hub targeting flights for 2024 Olympics

Nov. 10, 2022 Updated Thu., Nov. 10, 2022 at 7:19 p.m.

A VoloCity air taxi by Volocopter is displayed in Singapore on July 12.  (Ore Huiying/Bloomberg)
A VoloCity air taxi by Volocopter is displayed in Singapore on July 12. (Ore Huiying/Bloomberg)
By Albertina Torsoli and Christopher Jasper Bloomberg

France opened a hub for testing electric air taxis as it seeks to introduce the world’s first service with the new category of aircraft in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Aeroports de Paris, which runs the French capital’s major airports, will operate the facility alongside U.K.-based Skyports Ltd., a leading developer of so-called vertiports, as flying-taxi bases have been termed.

The hub at Pontoise Cormeilles aerodrome, unveiled Thursday, combines a passenger terminal, takeoff and landing area, mission control zone and hangar, all as close as possible to the configuration envisaged for 2024.

As part of the launch, Volocopter, a German developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing craft or eVTOLs, as flying taxis are known, carried out a flight integrated into conventional air traffic.

The project is also backed by RATP Group, which provides public transport in the Paris area, and the DGAC aviation regulator, as well as the transport ministry and Ile-de-France region.

ADP Chief Executive Officer Augustin de Romanet said the opening of the test site marks “a new decisive step in the development of electric air mobility,” and that work will include development of multiple use cases for the hub, including health and logistics applications.

Valérie Pécresse, president of the Paris Region, said in a statement she wants the city to be known as the site of the first passenger eVTOL flight, adding that the Olympics provide “an incredible opportunity to showcase and launch this project.”

Flying taxis are emerging as a new transport market, with developers raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

The French project adds to a growing list of planned bases around the world including those being promoted by Skyports rival Urban-Air Port, which showcased a demonstration vertiport in Coventry, England, last spring.

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