MIAMI – The City of Orlando is establishing a partnership with the German aviation company Lillium to develop a flying taxi project for the Orlando International Airport (MCO), political news portal The Hill reported on November 13.
As stated in the portal, “the ‘vertiport’ site will be in Lake Nona, which is set to become an innovative ‘smart city’ near the Orlando International Airport.” The business model will be similar to Uber’s and Lyft’s ones, in which you hail a ride through an app. But, instead of cars, you get an aircraft, the Lithium Jet, as your ride.
“Lilium’s signature jet model, which can hit speeds of around 300 kilometers/186 miles per hour, is designed with two parallel wings and 36 electric engines and is piloted remotely,” the portal stated.
A Full US Transportation Network
The German company is planning on launching a full transportation network in the US by 2025, pending FAA and other government approvals. Even though prices haven’t been released, Lillium’s CEO Remo Garber told The Hill that he “compared it to flying business class.”
Tests of the aircraft has been stalled due to the pandemic and to a fire at a company site that, per the portal, “obliterated the initial prototype during maintenance.”
Despite that challenge, Gerber is confident in the flying taxi success.”Over time, we are very committed on creating a more affordable mode of transportation,” Garber said, adding that “we sometimes even go as far as to say five to 10 years post-launch, it is entirely conceivable it might actually come down to a price point similar to driving your own car.”
Lillium’s first vertiport was approved in September, and the Orlando project is expected to create 100 local jobs.
Featured image: Lilium