Air taxi company Volocopter gets green light for series production

BERLIN: Volocopter is set to begin series production of its flying taxis after receiving approval from authorities in Germany, the manufacturer has announced.

Volocopter, among several companies vying to dominate a future air taxi business, makes aircraft with a distinctive ring for the rotors on the roof, and which can take off and land vertically and can carry two people.

The company's original aim had been to launch passenger operations with electric air taxis at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Whether this is still be possible remains unclear. Although Volocopter is sticking to its plans, they admitted that they are now "very ambitious", the company said a few days earlier.

Volocopter's chief operating officer, Andreas Fehring, now says the latest development "is a major milestone for us."

The company announced at the beginning of March that it had received an extended authorization to its so-called production organisation authorisation (POA) from the German aviation authority LBA, which will enable series production of the Volocity flying taxi.

The company now has official authorisation to manufacture aircraft for commercial flight operations. They could be delivered as soon as the air taxi receives certification.

Electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) like those made by Volocopter are seen by proponents as low-emissions alternatives to helicopters that could help reduce congestion.

But others, including the University of Michigan and Ford, have warned that the eVTOLs use up significant amounts of energy when lifting off - more than electric cars, for example.

Volocopter is among several new mobility companies racing to establish a flying taxi business, expected to be an expensive luxury for wealthy urban residents.

Rival company Archer Aviation is aiming to introduce electric air taxis to some of India’s big cities by 2026, while Joby has already begun New York’s first electric air taxi service.
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