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Paris’s Olympic flying taxi plans hit city council setback

The Local France
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Paris’s Olympic flying taxi plans hit city council setback
The VoloCity air taxi is seen flying during a demonstration at the Paris, Le Bourget Airport, on June 20, 2023. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

Ambitious plans to trial flying taxis in Paris during the 2024 Olympic Games have hit a setback, after the French capital’s councillors rejected the plans as “absurd”.

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Members of the Conseil de Paris described the well-publicised project to run electric flying taxis on three overhead routes as an “ecological aberration”.

Dan Lert, deputy mayor with responsibility for ecological transition denounced the plans as, “a totally useless, hyper-polluting gimmick for a few ultra-privileged people in a hurry".

The Autorité environnementale française has already expressed its reservations about the scheme. It said an impact study for an experimental flying cab base on the Seine – at the quai du port d’Austerlitz – was “incomplete”, and raised concerns over sound and visual pollution, energy consumption and ground and airborne safety risks.

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The Aéroports de Paris (ADP) group, along with German manufacturer Volocopter and the Ile-de-France region, said the plans were an “experiment with a new mobility offer in very dense urban areas”.

READ ALSO Will there really be flying taxis at the 2024 Paris Olympics?

The intention was to run the flying taxis during the 2024 Olympics, offering essentially a shuttle service from the airport into the city - cutting a 45-minute journey to 10 minutes, albeit at a price of €110 per person.

Opposition to the plans, however,  was across the board from members of the city council.

Parti Socialiste councillor Florian Sitbon described the project, which has state and regional government backing as “absurd”. 

“To save a few minutes for a few wealthy people in a hurry, who are ignorant and contemptuous of the climate emergency, we would be polluting the atmosphere and destroying the sound environment,” he said.

The mayor of the 15th arrondissement, Republicain Philippe Goujon, reiterated his ambition to close the Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport completely.

Changer Paris councillor Claire de Clermont-Tonnerre added: "The consumption of these flying machines, nearly 190 kWh per 100 km, is two to three times higher than that of a combustion-powered car to transport a single passenger. 

"It’s a new use that we absolutely don't need (...), just as we’ve seen with self-service scooters", Communist councillor Jean-Noël Aqua said, and pointed out that passengers would have to  pay “the modest sum of €140 for 35km”.

Despite the scale of the opposition, the scheme could still go ahead. The Ministry of Transport is set to make a decision “at the beginning of 2024”, while safety certifications for the taxis themselves are due “in the Spring of 2024”.

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