LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s aviation regulator is studying designs for flying taxi airports, it said on Wednesday, as the arrival of a new mode of transport edges closer.
Electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), also known as flying taxis or air taxis, have been touted as the future of urban air mobility.
The low-altitude aircraft would travel between cities and airports avoiding traffic, but face a number of challenges before they can become a reality.
As well as needing to secure regulatory approval and convince consumers they are safe, eVTOLs need infrastructure for landing and take-off.
Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said it was launching a consultation on how eVTOL airports, called “vertiports”, would fit into existing small airfields, and how they would operate safely and efficiently.
“This consultation is a big step towards enabling this new and innovative way of travelling to become part of our everyday life,” the CAA’s head of future safety and innovation Sophie O’Sullivan said in a statement.
The CAA said small airfields would be the best places for vertiports at first.
The consultation closes on March 15.
UK-based Vertical Aerospace, which is working on an eVTOL product, received a $50 million investment from its founder and chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick on Monday, new funding aimed at helping it gain regulatory approval.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)