Flying taxis coming to an airport near you

Possibly in time for the FIFA World Cup.

The Houston Airport System says they plan to bring air taxis to the area within the next two years, just in time for the FIFA World Cup in 2026.

“Right now we’re looking at identifying landing and take-off locations for eVTOLs at all three of our airport locations in Bush, Ellington, and Hobby,” Houston Airports Chief Operating Officer Jim Szczesniak said. These eVOTL – electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle – air taxis could hold five passengers, including the pilot, and have space for luggage. There are also plans for autonomous eVTOLs, where the pilot is driving the vehicle from afar, so the small aircraft can take up more passengers.

The planes take off vertically, like a helicopter, but they don’t have combustion engines. Houston Airport System officials, such as Szczesniak, are already making plans for when the technology becomes a reality.


Szczesniak believes that the service would operate like a ridesharing service, such as Uber, offering rides to and from the airport at a similar price rate to an Uber Black. Approximately 2 million passengers are dropped off at Bush each year. If just one percent of them take air taxis, that would mean an estimated 55 air taxi operations per day, according to Szcezsniak.

The air taxi market is projected to reach $1.5 trillion globally by 2040, according to a study by Morgan Stanley Research. Last summer, the Federal Aviation Administration released an implementation plan outlining the steps it and others will need to safely enable air taxis soon, with a rollout arrival date of 2028.

Houston Airports is in talks with aircraft designers, and manufacturers who are purchasing eVTOLs, and the FAA to successfully launch the integration of these air taxis. United Airlines, which has a hub at Bush International Airport, recently purchased 200 eVTOLs for $1 billion from Archer Aviation, an aircraft manufacturer. It also signed an agreement with another eVTOL maker, Eve Air Mobility, to purchase up to 400 air taxis.

See here and here for some background. A critical piece of missing information here is how much they expect this service to cost. If that back-of-the-envelope estimate is accurate and this is intended for, well, the one percent, then it’s probably going to be pretty expensive, like well over a hundred bucks per person. I’m sure the lawyers are already hashing out what kind of liability waiver one is going to have to sign before embarking. Does any of this sound tempting to you? Leave a comment and let us know. Hat tip to the CityCast Houston podcast for the heads up.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.