France to test flying taxi routes ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics

France is set to begin testing electric air taxis in the coming months, with the goal of launching them in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Aeroport de Paris said in a statement last week.

The flying taxis will be tested at a hub outside Paris at Pontoise. The city hopes to create two dedicated flight paths to ferry passengers for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

One route will carry passengers via Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports, while the second will travel between two suburbs southwest of the French capital, the statement added.

ADVERTISEMENT

The project is a joint venture between aircraft developers Volocopter GmbH, Airbus SE, Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd, Lilium NV and Joby Aviation and France’s civil aviation authority, Bloomberg reported.

A number of companies are working on electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft — known as eVTOLs. In a May report, Morgan Stanley estimated that the eVTOLs could eventually grow to become a $9 trillion global market.

Another report, from ReportLinker, estimates that the market is currently worth about $8.5 billion and will likely grow to $30.8 billion by 2030. 

Aeroport de Paris said in a statement that the main challenges for the development of this new technology are acceptability, safety and qualification of uses. 

“The French State is fully committed to the financing, with nearly 25 million euros already provided by the Council for Civil Aeronautics Research (CORAC) for the development of flying taxis, but also for the support of projects with the DGAC and the Agency for Innovation in Transport. Everything is falling into place: partnerships, innovation, test areas, regulations, financing. All the ingredients for success are there, all that remains is to make it happen,” Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, the French minister delegate for transport, said in a statement.
 
In the U.S., a number of cities — including Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando — have already announced similar plans for flying taxis and other airborne urban mobility vehicles.