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Spain unveils plans for flying taxis in Barcelona

written by Hannah Dowling | November 6, 2020
An artist's impression of an Uber flying taxi in Melbourne. (Uber)
An artist’s impression of an Uber flying taxi in Melbourne. (Uber)

ENAIRE, Spain’s air traffic management authority, has officially announced plans to begin demonstrating flying taxis throughout the cities of Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela in 2022.

Spain hopes to be the first to see its returned tourists offered a new and novel opportunity to explore the city from above, while removing congestion for the streets of its busy cities.

ENAIRE is currently participating in two Europe-wide projects that could see the widespread use of flying taxis and other flying vehicles to move people around urban and semi-urban spaces, as well as the use of drones for the delivery of goods throughout the cities.

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“We need to move urban mobility into the third dimension: airspace. And we need to do it as efficiently and sustainably as we can,” ENAIRE’s director general, Ángel Luis Arias, said at an online conference this week.

He added, “ENAIRE, in its capacity as a public company of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, is willing to fulfil its duties to attract and help any private sector companies or public organisations that are interested in allowing Spain to position itself at the forefront of the development and operation of this new sector.”

The two EU-funded projects form part of the Europe-wide research and innovation network known as Horizon 2020.

“The plan is for both projects to demonstrate air taxis in Europe in 2022,” Enaire said in a statement, with the company due to oversee these Horizon 2020 air taxis taking flight in Spain.

No further or specific information was provided about how these air taxis will function, or how the flight tests will be run.

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This, however, would not be the first air taxi prototype to ever fly in Spain.

In July 2019, Spanish technology company Tecnalia unveiled its own prototype for a pilotless, one-person air taxi. 

The air vehicle is designed to carry a person or load of up to 150 kilograms, has a cruising height of between 100 metres and 300 metres, and can cover distances of up to 15 kilometres in 15 minutes.

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