Air taxi trials prepare for take-off in Singapore

Meant to complement existing transport systems – from international flights to the conventional taxis – the air taxi solution is similar to a ride-hailing platform, where passengers can access the service via a booking app

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) revealed on Tuesday (Apr 9) that initial trials with German company Volocopter will take place in the southern part of Singapore.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Rotorcraft Asia trade show, CAAS’ deputy director of transformation programmes Mr Tan Chun Wei said that this will take place “over water”.

We are going to take off where we land. For the first phase, it’s very much into experimental. For a start … it is going to be over water, and we are going to work with Volocopter on the safety aspects to ensure that even flying over water, it wouldn’t pose a public or even aviation risk. The landing spot will be somewhere in the southern part of Singapore,” Mr Tan added.

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Volocopter’s CEO Florian Reuter told CNA that the company has plans for the first trials to commence in the second half of the year and that they “are very well within the timeline”.

Reuter shared that the starting cost of each trip will be higher than regular taxi fares, but in the long run the pricing of Volocopter rides can be comparable to their land counterparts.

 

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Allaying concerns about safety, he assured that the aircrafts are “as safe as commercial airlines”. He added that the vehicles are “extremely quiet”.

Volocopter’s website shows that the aircraft is primarily constructed from fibre composites and has a maximum take-off weight of 450kg.

The aircraft, which take off and land vertically, can accommodate two people and fly distances of up to 30km. Although they look like helicopters, the aircraft is based on drone technology.

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