(Bloomberg) -- Rome plans to offer travelers the chance to bypass its famously crippling traffic by flying in air taxis directly from the city center.
The goal is to have the service up and running in 2024, ahead of a year-long Vatican celebration the following year known as Jubilee. A ride from the central Termini rail station, where the air taxi terminal could be located, to Fiumicino airport would take around 20 minutes, compared with as much as an hour by road.
“We expect millions of visitors to come from all over the world,” Marco Troncone, chief executive officer of airport operator Aeroporti di Roma SpA, said in an interview on Thursday. “This will be an opportunity to offer alternative mobility services and to accelerate the development of our infrastructure.”
Aeroporti di Roma and Atlantia SpA announced last October a partnership with electric air-taxi company Volocopter GmbH, with the goal of bringing urban air mobility to the Eternal City. On Thursday, a two-seater, electric Volocity vehicle took off from the Fiumicino area for first public test flight with a crew onboard.
The Italian venture adds to a growing list of electric air taxis being tested around the world, with France planning to have two dedicated flight paths to ferry passengers in time for the 2024 summer Olympics.
While the Italian project is still waiting for the final authorization from the Italian and European authorities, Volocopter Chief Commercial Officer Christian Bauer said that the company is committed “to get the commercial certification by 2024.”
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