Orlando officials taking steps to becoming a national leader in growing ‘air taxi’ industry

ORLANDO, Fla. — The city of Orlando has locked in two partnerships with the goal of becoming a national leader in advancing air travel.

One partnership is with the civil engineering company VHB to create an Advanced Air Mobility Transportation Plan. The other partnership is with NASA for aerospace research.

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says the city needs to be ready when air taxi vertiports arrive in a more mainstream way.

“As transportation options continue to evolve over time, the availability and accessibility of incorporating air taxis into a community’s transportation network greatly increases,” Dyer said. “As a future-ready city, the City of Orlando wants to be prepared to embrace these new transportation amenities that can enhance our regional connectivity and serve as a major backbone of our future transportation network.”

If things go according to plan, officials say air taxis could become an option in Orlando as soon as 2025.

Between the partnerships, they hope to develop an understanding of how air taxis could impact the community, and how to integrate them so there’s equal access to them at all socio-economic levels.

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“A lot of private companies are developing them and we want to be ready for when they come to the city,” Orlando Transportation Planning Projects Coordinator Jacques Coulon said. “If they’re going to come and be a part of our transportation for the city, we need to plan for it, the same way we plan for buses and trains, we need to plan for advanced air mobility so that the impacts are equitable across our city.”

Austin Valle with the affordable housing advocacy group Orlando Yimby says air taxis aren’t a practical focus right now.

“Technology, innovation, these projects are great, but it feels like we should be focusing on the basics first,” Valle said. “You can put as many air taxis in the air as you want. You can put a flying train in the air. You can put a flying elephant in the air, but until we have good sustainable infrastructure that works for everyone, we’re never going to be a world-class city.”

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The city will host several community workshops over the coming months where they’ll take public input into consideration as the planning process begins.

For more information on the city’s AAM plans, click here.

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