France will begin testing electric air taxis in coming months at a hub outside Paris with the goal of having two dedicated flight paths to ferry passengers in time for the 2024 summer Olympics.
One route would link Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and the other would be between two suburbs southwest of the French capital, according to a statement Thursday from Aeroports de Paris.
Volocopter GmbH, Airbus SE, Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd, Lilium NV and Joby Aviation are among aircraft developers participating in the project along with France’s civil aviation authority, the airports operator said. The landing and takeoff zones at the Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin hub were adapted for the tests earlier this year.
Electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or eVTOLs, are rapidly emerging as a new transport market, with developers raising hundreds of millions of dollars for their projects. Britain’s Vertical Aerospace and German rival Volocopter are among European companies competing for orders alongside Lilium.
The French project adds to a growing list of planned bases around the world including those being promoted by infrastructure firm Urban-Air Port and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co., which is targeting the opening early next year of a first site in Coventry, England.
Tests at the two-runway Pontoise hub will include: noise, vibration measurements on Volocopter flights; safe integration of drones, eVTOLs with conventional air traffic; and battery charging, vehicle maintenance.