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American Airlines hopes to ferry passengers with flying taxis

Robert Besser
14 Jun 2021, 02:37 GMT+10

FORT WORTH, Texas: American Airlines will purchase flying taxis to ferry passengers high above the congestion of crowded cities.

In moving ahead with flying taxis, American announced on Thursday that it will invest $25 million in Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd., a U.K.-based electric aircraft startup.

American is looking to purchase as many as 250 of Vertical's flying taxis.

American said the air taxis, which are electric and take off and land vertically like helicopters, will hold four passengers plus a pilot and travel at speeds of up to 200 miles per hours.

Vertical Aerospace has scheduled the first test flight of its flying taxi later this year. American Airlines officials said its order is contingent on the aircraft's approval by regulators and in reaching other milestones.

Vertical Aerospace earlier said it would begin commercial operations in 2024, once European regulators sign off.

Other companies, including Embraer, are also working to develop air taxis.

Vertical Aerospace has attracted other large investors, including Honeywell International, Rolls-Royce and Microsoft.

Additionally, United Airlines announced plans to invest in another electric flying taxi startup and purchase as many as 200 of its aircraft.

Chief Executive David Calhoun had earlier guided Boeing in investing in flying taxis.

"There is a gigantic urban helicopter market out there that wants to get replaced as fast as it can," Calhoun said this month. "It's measured in billions. It's not a tiny little niche."

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