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An air taxi in Paris for the 2024 Olympics? A project spinning heads

Volocopter air-taxi
Volocopter air-taxi Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Cyril Fourneris
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While the chosen aircraft and the first vertiport are ready, the project promoters still have to convince the authorities and regulators.

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Taking to the air rather than the road may soon be possible in Paris: an electric air taxi service is in the pipeline and could be launched during the 2024 Olympic Games.

But what will the service actually look like? Euronews visited Europe's first vertiport, a test terminal in Pontoise, just outside of Paris. 

Europe's first vertiport

Damian Kysely, Head of Infrastructure for Europe and the Middle East at Skyports, showed us the facilities intended for future passengers.

"In front of the first gantry, you're going to check in. We need to make sure you're the right person at the right time," he explains.

He then takes us to a small passenger lounge. "About five minutes before departure, passengers will be invited to board the air taxi. Again, we have a biometric portal; [once through] they are allowed to board," he says.

Euronews
Biometric portal for air-taxi, similar to ones seen at airportsEuronews
"A low-carbon form of aviation that can be used in ways we haven't even thought of yet".

The air taxi will be able to land at one of five vertiports in the Paris region, one of which will be located in Paris on a barge floating on the river Seine.

Euronews
Map of proposed stops for the air-taxiEuronews

Residents have yet to vote on the arrival of these electric aircraft. They are four times quieter than a helicopter, insists the Aéroport de Paris group, which is heavily involved in the project.

Edward Arkwright, Executive Director of the ADP Group, points out that "new forms of air transport are first and foremost low-carbon aviation. It's aviation that makes other uses possible: those that we have thought of like transporting people, parcels, medical supplies, and emergency trips. Then, those that we haven't yet thought of," he asserts.

Awaiting certification

On the manufacturer's side, the German company Volocopter overseeing the project hopes to obtain the green light from the European Aviation Safety Agency as soon as possible.

"Our first priority today - and what we're all working towards and devoting all our resources to - is certification of the machine," explains Jean-Christophe Drai, Sales Director of Volocopter France. "So we're aiming for a reasonable objective, something that can be delivered, that can actually exist, rather than making things and promises that we'll never be able to keep," he assures us.

Will Paris be the first capital in the world to launch a flying taxi service? The people behind the project believe so. They have less than a year before the Olympic Games to convince the regulators and authorities.

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