As part of a cooperation with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace, Virgin Atlantic is looking into the possibility of launching a flying taxi service.
Electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could travel from communities to large airports, according to the airline. This year, Vertical Aerospace is performing aeroplane test flights. The idea, according to one analyst, is “less extreme” than that of other air taxi companies, but there will be obstacles ahead.
Virgin Atlantic is exploring whether it could launch a flying taxi service as part of a partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace.#VirginAtlantic
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— FBC News Fiji (@FBC_News) June 12, 2021
What exactly is the concept?
Several businesses have proposed autonomous “flying taxis” that would pick up people from city center rooftops and transport them anywhere they wanted to go.
Virgin Atlantic’s suggestion is a gentler version.
It has been proposed that an eVTOL aircraft pick up people in cities like Cambridge and fly them to larger airports like London Heathrow.
Vertical Aerospace claims that its VA-X4 vehicle will be able to transport four people and a pilot up to 100 miles while emitting no pollutants and being quieter than a helicopter.
In fact, the business says that when cruising, it would be “near-silent.” It has already formed alliances with American Airlines and Avalon, a leasing company.
Is it even possible?
Vertical Aerospace president Michael Cervenka told the BBC, “There’s a lot of hype in this sector.”
“We’ve taken the approach of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of technology, but not beyond it.” The aircraft would have to fly to and from authorized sites such as helipads or regional airports because of its 15m (49ft) wingspan.
The VA-X4 will be subjected to rigorous safety and regulatory inspections, just like any other aircraft. Slovenia’s PipistrelVelis, according to Dr Guy Gratton, associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University, was a good example of what a modern electric plane may achieve.
“The Velis can carry two passengers and half a toothbrush for around an hour and a quarter of flight time. He stated, “That’s a normal plane, so it’s pretty efficient compared to anything with vertical take-off and landing.”
He stated that though the VA-X4 will be quieter than a helicopter, the “rotors and wings would still create noise in forwarding flight.”
When cruising overhead, MrCervenka intends it to sound no louder than a refrigerator from the ground. He said that rather than waiting for the creation of a “magical new battery,” the company’s ambitions could be met using current technology.
Additional opulent pictures of flying taxi transporting passengers from one building to the next, on the other hand, would necessitate new air-traffic management technology, public acceptance of more planes in cities, automation advances, and legislative change that may take a decade.
Vertical Aerospace announced plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange following a merger with Broadstone on Thursday, valuing the company at $2.2 billion (£1.6 billion).
Airlines in trouble
In addition to international border closures, Australia’s airlines have faced a patchwork of state border restrictions during the pandemic.
Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, reported an annual loss of nearly A$2 billion ($1.4 billion; £1 billion).Virgin has already stated that when Bain takes over, roughly 3,000 jobs will be lost, leaving roughly 6,000.It also intends to close down Tiger Australia, its low-cost subsidiary.Previously, the airline controlled over 31% of Australia’s domestic routes, while Qantas controlled over 58 percent.
Virgin Australia had operated 130 planes to 41 different destinations.Now the company intends to start a flying taxi service and provide a new service to the customer and attract customers.It primarily served the domestic market, but it also served New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Tokyo, and Los Angeles.