German company Volocopter performed on Monday a first flight of its electrical air taxi in France at a show in Le Bourget airport and said it aimed to have a service in operation for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

The flying taxi, which looks like a tiny helicopter, took off at Bourget airport near Paris and then landed vertically after a three-minute flight. It had no passengers on board.

Image: Shutterstock

It flew some 500 metres in the air at speeds of up to 30 kilometres per hour and was around 30 metres above the airfield, Volocopter said in a statement.

It has the capacity for two people on board and a luggage compartment.

“The clear intention for Paris 2024, the objective is to actually have a regular service in operation,” Volocopter Chief Executive Florian Reuter said. “That’s a challenge.”

Reuter said the flying taxi service would initially be operated by a fully licensed pilot in order to comply with existing regulations.

“Over time… we want these vehicles to fly fully automated, so you will not need a pilot licence anymore,” he added.

Reuter described the urban mobility market as “gigantic”.

“Urban mobility is a more than 10 trillion dollar market,” he said. “We estimate that, by 2035, we can serve a market that has around 300 billion dollars in opportunity.”

REUTERS | PARIS

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