Today’s Solutions: September 25, 2022

Seletar Airport is the city-state of Singapore’s lesser known second airport. It’s a small airfield normally frequented only by private jets, but soon it could be known for the future of sky travel. Singapore has recently signed agreements that would make Seletar into a vertiport, where electronic aerial devices and sky taxis take off like helicopters. 

As soon as 2024, Seletar could serve as the take-off template for the newest form of mobility: eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles). Singapore’s agreements with Volocopter GmbH and Skyports Ltd. could see Seletar turn into a hub for sky cabs or flying taxis. 

Take-off of the future

“Singapore is, and continues to strive to be, the world leader in mobility, and this development is another brick in that wall,” said Sunny Xi, a principal at consultancy Oliver Wyman’s transportation and services practice. “This is more than simply solving traffic on roads. Singapore has all the right ingredients to test, learn and scale both the mobility adoption and the business to then export it across the world.” 

As with any new technology, safety testing and viability have to be proven before flying taxis can be approved. Companies like Volocopter, however, think it’s only a matter of time and that the future of this newest technology will start in Singapore and Asia.

“In Asia, you have a high concentration of mega cities that you don’t have in any other region,” Christian Bauer, Volocopter’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview. “This new industry is innovative, it’s good for inhabitants, for tourists, and also for cross-border connections to relieve the pain of congestion.”

Volocopter estimates that Singapore could see $4.2 billion ($3 billion) in cumulative economic benefits and as many as 1,300 local jobs by 2030 from the industry. Predictions place initial fares of these flying taxis at 40 percent of a helicopter fare, and within five to six years fares could be as low as a premium taxi. 

This is all still in the planning stages, with no changes yet being made to Seletar airport. The idea has spread through Asia with positive projections and tech agreements, though, and even Kenya Airways Plc has agreed to buy as many as 40 flying taxis starting in 2026.

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