27-Feb-2023 Source: HCA Airport
A new partnership consisting of HCA Airport in Odense and Copenhagen Helicopter will be the first in Denmark to build an infrastructure for electrically powered, flying taxis that can transport people between the country’s largest cities. Before the summer holidays, the first flying taxi must arrive on Funen, and the aim is to establish a landing pad on the roof of Odense Banegård Center.
A fleet of CO2-neutral, flying taxis will in the future transport passengers between Odense, Copenhagen and other Danish and European cities and towns.
It may sound like pure science fiction, but in cities such as Los Angeles, Munich and Seoul, they are already in the process of laying the foundations for a completely new layer of green infrastructure called AAM – Advanced Air Mobility, and here at home HCA Airport in Odense and the company Copenhagen Helicopter is now taking the first steps towards moving flying taxis – also called eVTOL, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft – into Danish airspace.
The goal is to be able to display a flying taxi at HCA Airport before the summer, and in the slightly longer term the ambition is to establish one or more landing sites, so-called vertipads or vertiports – the first on top of Odense Banegård Center.
“I imagine that in a few years you can take the light rail to Odense Railway Station and from there take a flying taxi to Copenhagen or one of the other large Danish cities. It is now that we have to start building a completely new infrastructure based initially on manned, flying taxis that fly on green power and contribute to the government’s ambition for 100% green domestic transport in 2030,” says the chairman of the board of HCA Airport , Kim Kenlev.
Kim Kenlev sees great potential in a landing pad in Odense in particular.
“I see no obstacle to the fact that in the long term you will not also be able to fly to cities such as Gothenburg, Hamburg or Berlin. Advanced Air Mobility is high on the agenda everywhere, and these cities are within reach of these flying taxis.”
Will attract foreign players
Initially, the partnership wants to attract foreign AAM actors to HCA Airport, which already houses an internationally recognized drone test center, the UAS Denmark Test Center.
It can be in the form of test and demonstration activities or in the long term, service and maintenance.
“Advanced Air Mobility is based on a new revolution in aviation, which says goodbye to fossil fuels in favor of electrification and biofuels – in the same way as we know it from the transition from traditional cars to hybrid and electric cars and later self-driving cars. It provides completely new opportunities to transport the population on a daily basis via the airspace and at the same time reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, reduce noise levels and much more,” says CEO of Copenhagen Helicopter, Martin Andersen.
Copenhagen Helicopter offers, among other things, taxi flights with traditional helicopters, which according to the company is a growing area.
According to Martin Andersen, Copenhagen Helicopter’s own calculations, which are based on national and international reports, show that the AAM area holds a very large potential and, among other things, will be able to move 84,000 passengers daily and remove 120,000 tons of CO2 annually from Danish roads in 2035.
A disruption of domestic transport
In Odense Municipality, we share the ambition for more sustainable forms of transport and to set ambitions high in order to be first with new technologies:
“This may very well be the beginning of what will in the future be a completely new way of transporting both ourselves and also goods. We can see that other countries and cities are very far ahead, and here, of course, Denmark and Odense must also be involved. The flying taxis of the future can fly on green power produced by Danish offshore wind turbines, and at the same time they can contribute to moving traffic away from the roads,” says Mayor of Odense Municipality, Peter Rahbæk Juel.
He calls the ambition for Odense to be at the forefront of development a natural extension of the city’s long-standing strong position within, among other things, robot and drone technology:
“The Funen robot adventure began with some talented engineers from the University of Southern Denmark and a town that dared to think big and take a gamble. In the same way, I also see this as the first baby steps towards a new business adventure that will hopefully both generate jobs, contribute to the green transition and create a completely new way of transporting people,” says Peter Rahbæk Juel.
BACKGROUND: AN AREA IN RAPID DEVELOPMENT
In countries such as Korea and Germany, as mentioned, they are relatively far in creating the framework for flying taxis to take to the wings – initially with a pilot on board.
In Seoul, the ambition is for flying drones to fly permanently over the megacity as early as 2025, and in Germany an Airbus-led partnership with the participation of, among others, is working. Deutsche Bahn, Munich Airport and Telekom to make flying taxis between German cities a reality. A total of 86 million euros – equivalent to 645 million Danish kroner – has been set aside for the next three years.
And in the USA, at the beginning of 2022, Boeing invested just over three billion Danish kroner in the Silicon Valley company Wisk Aero, which is working on developing a self-flying propeller plane.
Photo credit: Sebastian Thomas Bay