Air Taxis Within Two Years?

Tue 26th Jul 2022

The UK commuter may soon have another option to travel around the country after a consortium of businesses revealed they are soon to start trialling air taxi journeys from a trio of British airports.

While rail strikes continue, and the airline industry continues to flounder, the consortium, which is backed by Virgin Atlantic could be set to make their move with tests at Heathrow, London City and Bristol airports.

The project has been launched by Vertical Aerospace, and will utilise electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, capable of carrying four passengers at a time. The consortium, which also includes an aerospace design consultancy and NATS, the company which operates the UK’s air-traffic control services has won the government’s Future Flight Challenge competition, securing £9.5 million of funding.

The trials will commence at a number of private airfields, before progressing to Heathrow and Bristol and then in the future look to utilise a series of ‘vertiports’ which can be constructed around the UK.

“Our roadmap sets out how air taxis could be in use in the UK by 2030, but a lot needs to occur for that to happen,” said Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director at UK Research and Innovation.
“By bringing technical developments from across the aviation industry together in one network, and undertaking early demonstration in the real-world, the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium could accelerate the timescale for AAM introduction by years. This project could revolutionise travel,  not just in the UK but around the world.”

The Vertical Aerospace project is not the only team looking at air taxis. Urban-Air Ports have announced plans to open 200 flying taxi hubs in 65 cities globally over the next five years. They opened their first vertiport in Coventry in April.