Air taxis cleared for Paris Olympics, Macron offered seat on first flight

Opponents of the project still hope to overturn the permit

Air taxis cleared for Paris Olympics, Macron offered seat on first flight

Air taxis have been cleared for takeoff during the Paris Olympics — and President Macron has been offered a seat on the first flight.

German startup Volocopter will deliver the flying taxis. A barge on the River Seine will provide a tiny airport for the vehicles.

The French government confirmed the plans on Tuesday. In an official degree, public officials named the terminal the “Vertiport de Paris-Austerlitz.”

The airport will accommodate vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles. Volocopter’s all-electric Volocity is the only air taxi authorised to use the terminal.

The two-seater, 18-rotor craft earned the rubber stamp after over a year of testing. It can now look forward to flights over the Paris Olympics, which start on July 26.

Volocopter will, however, have to abide by strict guidelines.

The vertiport can only operate two flights per hour and 900 across the entire “experiment,” which must end by December 31. It can also only remain open between 08:00 and 17:00.

Air taxi firms hope that the trial provides a springboard for the industry. Macron has also offered strong support for their objectives. He now has a chance to test the VTOLs out for himself.

Divisive plans for air taxis

Artist's rendering of VoloCity air taxi flying over Paris.
Artist’s rendering of VoloCity flying over Paris. Credit: Volocopter

Macron has been invited to become the first passenger in Paris, the London Times reports.

“If he wanted to be the first European to fly on this type of vehicle… at the Olympic Games, he would be welcome,” said Augustin de Romanet, the executive chairman of the Paris Airports Authority.

Not everyone supports the plan, however. Critics claim that air taxis are impractical and poor value for money. They argue that the flights are solely for the ultra-wealthy.

Paris City Hall has described the project as “absurd” and an “ecological mistake.” The council plans to challenge the permit for the project.

But for now, Macron can book a ticket and look forward to the Paris views.

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