Air taxis will soon soar over Singapore’s skies as trials are slated to start by end-2019

Soon, you can lift off and fly from Changi to, er, Sentosa. With air taxis gliding in from German aviation company Volocopter, it seems our skies could get busier in the next year or so. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the first trials will take place across southern Singapore over water, and they’ll commence private test flights in the third quarter of 2019, followed by public flight trials by year-end.

We are going to take off where we land. For the first phase, it’s very much into experimental, said CAAS deputy director of transformation programmes Tan Chun Wei at a media briefing at the Rotorcraft Asia trade show. For a start it is going to be over water, and we are going to work with Volocopter on the safety aspects to ensure that even flying over water, it wouldn’t pose a public or even aviation risk. The landing spot will be somewhere in the southern part of Singapore.

According to The Straits Times, the air taxis will offer unprecedented levels of safety, as stated by Volocopter’s chief executive, Florian Reuter. Even though Volocopter’s machines are known for their unmanned capabilities, the ones here will take to the skies with a pilot first, so the company can secure government approval and gain the trust of users before introducing its autonomous operations.

Channel NewsAsia said Volocopter expects to be as affordable as regular ride-hailing platforms within the next five to 10 years. Prices won’t reach those of conventional helicopter rides, which means the service could appeal to more than just the crazy rich in Singapore.

Reuter also told ST that potential routes for the air taxis in Singapore include Tuas to the CBD (26km) and Changi to Sentosa (18km), as well as further afield like central Singapore to Johor (26km) and Sentosa to Batam (22km).

Source: Civil Aviation Authority