Airbus CityBus Prototype at 2019 Paris Air Show

Aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus is working alongside French transport operator RATP Group (which manages Parisian public transport services) to explore the possibility of developing flying taxis—specifically vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles—in hopes of putting them into Paris operation in time for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Announced at this past week’s Paris Air Show, a feasibility study, conducted in partnership with airport operator Group Aeroports de Paris (ADP), the Paris Ile-de-France region, and the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) will investigate such challenges as traffic management, urban integration, maintenance, and design and production.

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Currently, to reach the city center, visitors arriving at Charles de Gaulle International Airport must take a ground-transport taxi, a 35-minute train ride, or a catch a bus that could take between 45 and 90 minutes. The aim of introducing flying taxis would be to provide personal transport to passengers arriving and the airport, transporting them directly to tournament sites, cutting down on both urban congestion and wait times.

Airbus has already been involved in the development of full-electric propulsion, self-piloted VTOL passenger aircraft, with an eye toward implementing them in urban mobility schemes. The major manufacturer has actually already produced two prototype models—the single-seater “Vahana” and the four-seater variant “CityAirbus”.

The Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that ADP Group’s executive director general, Edward Arkwright has stated that the aim is to have the venue ready in eighteen months, requiring an infrastructure investment of about ten million euros ($11.3 million). Airport manager ADP has been given until the end of the year to choose a site suitable for a “vertiport”—a take-off and landing facility capable of hosting air taxis in the region around Paris.