Flying-taxi hubs planned for 65 cities spanning London to LA


Urban-Air Port plans to establish a network of more than 200 electric air mobility facilities worldwide in the next five years. — Cartoon vector created by vectorjuice - www.freepik.com

A network of flying-taxi hubs is planned for 65 cities in a tie-up between infrastructure firm Urban-Air Port and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co, which is developing a vertical take-off and landing craft.

Bases are planned in the UK, the US, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, South Korea and South-East Asia, the companies said in a statement Thursday. A first site in Coventry, England, is due to open in early 2022.

Urban-Air Port says it’s the only company focused solely on building networks for operating flying taxis and cargo drones. Just US$150mil (RM623.77mil) has been spent on physical infrastructure this year, compared with US$5bil (RM20.79bil) invested in eVTOLs themselves by startups such as Joby Aviation and Lilium GmbH.

“The sector is soaring and we know that a future with electric flying vehicles and drones in cities is going to be a reality soon, but it can’t happen if we don’t have the infrastructure on the ground and in the air,” Urban-Air Port founder and executive chairman Ricky Sandhu said in the release.

After Coventry, the next sites due to come online will be in another city in England’s midlands and in Los Angeles, a spokesman for the UK-based company said. The London hub will be situated somewhere in the West End retail district or City financial center, he said.

Urban-Air Port plans to establish a network of more than 200 electric air mobility facilities worldwide in the next five years. The hubs will be modular and designed to fit into both dense urban areas and more-remote locations where charging will be provided using hydrogen fuel cells.

The Coventry base, to be known as Air-One, will see drones from Malloy Aeronautics and SkyFarer ply routes to demonstrate the viability of carrying cargoes such as refrigerated medical supplies. Safeguard Vertiports will meanwhile develop a certification program that meets UK standards. – Bloomberg

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