Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California could soon be taken over by a proposed Uber air taxi service. Over a year ago, the major on-demand taxi service announced that Dallas would be the launch city for its new helicopter transport service, allowing clients to schedule pick up from around the city. Participants would have the ability to schedule flights from major airports, hotels and different launch sites to avoid the typical traffic congestion that happens in the DFW area. The first “ventiport” in Dallas would be in Frisco, TX. Construction should begin this Fall, according to Hillwood Properties President Michael Barry in a recent interview with Dallas News.
The Beginnings of Uber Air Taxi Services
On May 1st the ride company, based out of San Francisco, released the prototype and design specifications. The new four-person aircraft was unveiled to those eagerly awaiting the announcement at a two-day convention in LA. Powered by an electric battery, these “air taxis” are energy efficient and quieter than helicopters. Also called eVTOLs (electronic vertical take-off and landing aircraft), they similar in size and functionality to corporate helicopters. Each Uber air taxi will be piloted by an FAA licensed commercial pilot. The end goal is for the service to be available in densely populated cities all over the country. Furthermore, clients would still have the usual flexibility of ordering an Uber air taxi through the traditional app.
Uber Air Taxi Testing to Begin in 2020
Flight demonstrations are proposed to begin in 2020 and start the commercial service by 2023. Two additional test markets are Los Angeles and Dubai. Some testing points covered in discussions for 2020 are for a network connection from points in Frisco Station, DFW International Airport, Fort Worth Alliance Airport, downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth.
In searching for future vertiport locations, Uber has been looking at noisy or busy locations near freeways. Manufacturers will develop the aircraft to emit similar frequencies and soundscape decibel levels as their environments to reduce noise disturbance. Additional vertiport features will include a loading area for passengers, charging stations for the aircraft electronic batteries, and passenger lounges.
Local Economy Benefits
In his recent interview, Mr.Berry had said that he was initially skeptical of Uber’s idea on air taxis. However, once he saw what other companies were doing in terms of development, Mr. Berry was onboard. This will impact the surrounding areas in the real estate market as well as local developers of electric batteries, propellers, and aircraft who can move into Fort Worth Alliance.
“Our corporate philosophy is all built toward the next big idea,” Mr. Berry said. “No idea is too crazy, we want to be involved with things that are outside of the box.”
These Uber air taxi services will go right in hand with current aviation offerings in both cities. Los Angeles helicopter lift services are popular for both the manufacturing and entertainment industries. In Dallas, oil and gas companies, along construction firms, often take advantage of helicopter lift services.