ABOVE: Volocopter’s Volocity eVTOL opened the flying display at the 2023 Paris Airshow
Plans to trial flying taxis at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games have been unanimously rejected by Members of the Conseil de Paris, who have described the scheme as ‘absurd’ and an ‘ecological aberration’.
As announced at this summer’s Le Bourget airshow, French eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing craft) manufacturer Volocopter had hoped to commence scheduled commercial services with its two-seat piloted Volocity aircraft in Summer 2024, coinciding with the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games.
Five to ten aircraft were projected to fly routes (consisting of three connection journeys and two round-trip tourist flights) in and around the capital, with one taking off and landing from a barge on the river Seine. The price per ten minute flight, previously noted by Volocopter as being initially subsidized, is quoted as 110 Euros per person.
However, Parisien councillors have unanimously slammed the plans, with Dan Lert – Deputy Mayor with responsibility for ecological transition – describing the proposed flights as “a totally useless, hyper-polluting gimmick for a few ultra-privileged people in a hurry”.
Parti Socialist councillor Florian Sitbon further condemned a project he described as “absurd,” adding: “To save a few minutes for a few wealthy people in a hurry, who are ignorant and contemptuous of the climate emergency, we would be polluting the atmosphere and destroying the sound environment.” Furthermore, Councillor Claire de Clermont-Tonnerre likened the “new use that we absolutely don’t need” to self-hire electric scooters.
Volocopter is set to be the first eVTOL outside China to receive type certification (expected in Spring 2024) and hopes to have EASA certification in place in time for the Paris Olympics. Meanwhile, the French Ministry of Transport is set to make a decision on the first flying taxi flights at the beginning of the year.
IMAGE: CHARLOTTE BAILEY