A new step towards the deployment of electric flying taxis in Paris. While an experiment with these futuristic machines is planned for next year for six months, on the occasion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a public inquiry opened on Monday for a little over a month - until the 8 December -, as spotted by our colleagues from Le Parisien. Intended to “collect comments from the Parisian public” on this project, it is a prerequisite for the final opinion from the Ministry of Transport, expected in early 2024. The launch of the experiment is scheduled for May 2024, and this until December 2024.
Concretely, this experimental project - which could then be made permanent - consists of the installation of a barge on the Seine, called "vertiport", located on Quai d'Austerlitz (13th arrondissement). The flying machines called Volocity, from the German start-up Volocopter, which look like large crowned insects, should take three well-defined routes: one of them going from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airports to Le Bourget, the second from the Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport (Hauts-de-Seine) to the Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole aerodrome (Yvelines) and the third from the Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport to vertiport of the Quai d'Austerlitz. “The aircraft will use, for the purposes of the experiment, the existing air routes along the Paris ring road and on the Seine, between the Porte de Bercy and the Quai d'Austerlitz, to reach the Issy-les heliport. -Moulineaux”, specifies the public inquiry file.
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But the path of flying taxis to the Olympics is still strewn with pitfalls. Last month, the Environmental Authority issued a relatively reserved opinion on the Vertiport development project. The organization notably judged the impact study “incomplete by choice of the project owner”, the ADP Group (formerly Aéroports de Paris), pointing out the noise pollution or “the increase in energy consumption induced by the project ". Groupe ADP defended itself by recalling that it was an “experiment”, also emphasizing that the opinion of the Environmental Authority is only “advisory”. Questioned by Le Parisien this Tuesday, the president of the Ile-de-France airports manager Edward Arkwright said he had “taken the time to respond to certain fantasies”, ADP having also revised downwards the number of planned flights.
In addition, to fly its flying taxis for the Olympics, the manufacturer Volocopter still needs to obtain certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in spring 2024, even if “it is not easy”, he said. conceded the company's CEO, Dirk Hoke. “We have two scenarios. If we obtain certification on time, we will be ready to open five passenger connections, notably between a barge moored on the Seine quai d'Austerlitz and Le Bourget, between the heliport of Issy-Les-Moulineaux and Saint-Cyr the School next to Versailles, between Roissy and Le Bourget airports, Dirk Hoke explained to Le Figaro last month. Otherwise, we will request an exemption to carry out demonstration flights without passengers. This is our plan B.”