In 2024, flying taxis will enter service in Île-de-France

In less than two years, science fiction will become reality in the sky of the Ile-de-France. As in Blade Runner, The Fifth Element Where is it Back to the Future, flying taxis will carry passengers through the air, causing traffic jams on the ground. The first aerial competitions will take place on the occasion of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will make Greater Paris one of the first metropolises in the world – together with Singapore and Rome – equipped with this futuristic service. «The idea is to start commercial operations, and therefore the sale of tickets, during the Games, with only two or three air routes. [une dizaine d’engins], explains Jean-Christophe Drai, commercial director for France of Volocopter, a leading German manufacturer in this emerging sector. Then, by 2030, we will deploy a web that will weave the sky of the Parisian conurbation. “ This future urban air mobility is made possible by the appearance of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft“, also called eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft).

France can boast a unique maturity in Europe in terms of eVTOL

A milestone event will take place on Thursday 10 November at the Pontoise Cormeilles-en-Vexin aerodrome (95). The consortium that brings together ADP (Aéroports de Paris), RATP and the Île-de-France Region – who have been collaborating on this project since 2020, in collaboration with the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the European Aviation Agency for security (EASA) – will carry out the “first flight integrated into conventional air traffic”, rejoices Alban Negret, head of innovation at ADP. Airport traffic had been temporarily suspended during the previous test flights, in Pontoise, the last one on 23 September (there was the JDD), or in Rome at the beginning of October. “We will show that everything is ready for 2024, continues the aeronautical engineer. France can boast a unique maturity in Europe in terms of eVTOL. “

What’s after this announcement

Read also – What will be the acoustic impact of the future flying taxis of Ile-de-France?

What’s after this announcement

Five vertiports in Île-de-France for 2024

The aircraft developed by Volocopter, the VoloCity, looks like a small helicopter (much less expensive) or a large two-seat drone with the pilot (there is an unmanned version), with its 18 rotors. A sort of missing link, whose electric motor, considerably reducing noise and vibration pollution – without eliminating them – allows low-altitude flights, between 200 and 350 meters in height, depending on obstacles and reliefs, at a cruising speed of 80 km / h. The car has an autonomy of only twenty minutes, during which it can travel 35 kilometers; but its removable batteries can be replaced in ten minutes. All that is missing is the “type certification”, which EASA must issue at the beginning of 2024, in order for it to be operational. “To fly in an open area, the level of safety is equivalent to that of airliners”, assures Jean-Christophe Drai.

The explosion and the noise from the helicopter require a fairly large area around the aircraft; Not the case here

It will also be inaugurated on Thursday “first passenger terminal for eVTOL in Europe”, at the Pontoise aerodrome. Designed by the British company Skyports (in which ADP invests), this approximately 100 m² wooden building is intended ” to complete “, with its check-in desk, its security gate, its biometric control, its waiting room, its passenger information (next flight, waiting time, etc.), its boarding. Without forgetting its vertiport – for vertical take-offs and landings – a circle of 15 meters in diameter marked by a large “V”, and its parking spaces with a capacity of three or four flying taxis. “The explosion and noise of a helicopter require a fairly large area around the plane; Not the case here “, says Alban Negret.

What’s after this announcement

What’s after this announcement

Five vertiports in Île-de-France are already planned for 2024, as well as two connecting lines: an east-west route between Paris and Versailles, more precisely between the Porte de Sèvres heliport (15 °) and Saint-Cyr-l’École aerodrome (78), or 15 kilometers as the crow flies in just under a quarter of an hour; and a north-south route, between Roissy-CDG airport (95) and Le Bourget airport (93) – 10 kilometers -, then to Quai d’Austerlitz (13 °) – 13 additional kilometers -, where a specific barge on the Seine must be moored and operated by the RATP. A sixth vertiport, on the roof of the Grande Arche in La Défense (92), could open in 2025. All are awaiting validation by EASA and the “airworthiness certification” of the DGAC. The ticket price has not yet been fixed. In 2030 it should approach “prices of a black taxi or an UberX”, according to Volocopter, between 60 and 100 euros for a race. But in two years, when it launches, the price should be higher. Heaven will not be accessible to everyone in the world of the future.

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