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  • Kyle Chua

Commercial Air Taxi Services Coming to Singapore As Early As 2024

Singaporeans might be able to start booking air taxis two years from now, with aviation firms Volocopter and Skyports nearing the rollout of technologies that will make the new mode of transport possible.

Credit: Volocopter via Automotive News Europe

The firms are expected to co-launch an air taxi service with frequent flights around the Marina Bay and Sentosa area by 2024, as The Straits Times reported. They plan to later expand it to accommodate cross-border travel, with trips to Indonesia and Malaysia. This could include flights from Seletar and Changi to cities like Melaka, Batam and Bintan.

Air taxi flights could significantly cut the travel time of city-to-city trips. A flight from Changi Airport to Batam, for example, would take less than 20 minutes. Meanwhile, a flight to Ibrahim International Business District in Johor Baru could only take 30 minutes versus the three hours it takes by car.

The two aviation firms were present at the Singapore Airshow on Tuesday, 15 February, where they showed off blueprints of their local plans. They also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and developer JTC Corporation, designating Seletar Aerospace Park as a possible hub for air taxi operations.

Volocopter agreed to set up maintenance and repair centres for air taxis in the area. Skyports, meanwhile, pledged to build infrastructure such as terminals and facilities for pilot training.

This is the latest development in Singapore’s efforts in becoming a pioneer in the air mobility industry after hosting a trial flight in 2019. Mr Christian Bauer, Volocopter’s Chief Commercial Officer, similarly sees the city-state as a prime candidate to introduce the technology to the world.

"We believe that Singapore will be a flagship nation for this type of technology and be suitable for us to then scale it to other nations and cities across South-East Asia," he said.

Concept rendering of a vertiport on a building's rooftop. Credit: Volocopter via The Straits Times

Mr Bauer noted that Volocopter looks to deploy a fleet of 10 to 20 air taxis at launch, adding that the service will be affordable to the general public.

The firm’s air taxis look and work like helicopters. But instead of a single main rotor, these modern crafts have multiple rotors with smaller blades. They run on electricity and are said to be quieter, safer and greener than other traditional travel options.

Vertiports, measuring about 20 to 25m long, will be built on rooftops across the city to serve as small, private airports where these air taxis could vertically land and take off from.

Volocopter’s urban air taxi, the VoloCity, has a range of 35km and a speed of 90kph, while its four-seater model, the VoloConnect, has a range of 100km and a speed of over 180kph.

Mr Tay Yun Yuan, Asia-Pacific Chief at Skyports, emphasised that air taxis are meant to complement the existing modes of transport rather than replace them.

"Our land transportation is efficient and we seldom get traffic jams,” he said. "We think there could be a chance to use air taxi services to connect to the islands in the south and to our neighbours in the north and to potentially enhance our status as an aviation hub today."

  • Singaporeans might be able to book air taxis by 2024, with aviation firms Volocopter and Skyports close to rolling out the technology for the new transport service.

  • The plan is to start flights around the Marina Bay and Sentosa area, with cross-border flights coming later.

  • Volocopter and Skyports signed a memorandum of agreement with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and developer JTC Corporation, designating Seletar Aerospace Park as a possible hub for air taxi operations.

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