‘Flying taxis’ for Paris 2024 Olympics meet council opposition

One councillor described it as 'a useless and hyper-polluting gadget for a few ultra-privileged people in a hurry'

A two-seater craft being tested at the dedicated ‘vertiport’ in Pontoise-Cormeilles, near Paris
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The flying taxi project for the 2024 Olympic Games has met with strong opposition from the Paris City Council, with elected representatives calling it an “absurd” project and an “ecological mistake”.

The Aéroports de Paris (ADP) group, which manages Paris-Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports, plans to take advantage of the showcase of the Games to trial the use of electric flying taxis.

The official objective is "to experiment with a new mobility offer in very dense urban areas”, said ADP and its partners, the German manufacturer Volocopter and the Ile-de-France region.

Read also: Flying ‘drone taxis’ on track to carry passengers at Paris Olympics

However, council officials spoke out against the plans when they deliberated the subject at Paris City Hall on November 14.

Dan Lert, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of ecological transition, denounced the project as “a totally useless and hyper-polluting gadget for a few ultra-privileged people in a hurry."

The elected officials called into question noise and visual pollution, as well as the risk to the safety of passengers and Parisians alike.

Staunch opposition

Councillor Florian Sitbon (Socialist Party) denounced an "absurd" project endorsed by the state and the Ile-de-France region.

"To gain a few minutes for a few wealthy people in a hurry, ignorant and contemptuous of the climate emergency, we would pollute the atmosphere, we would destroy the sound environment," he said.

Read also: What disruption for drivers in France during the Paris 2024 Olympics?

The mayor of the 15th arrondissement, Philippe Goujon, reiterated his ambition to permanently close the Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport.

As part of this environmental assessment, he delivered a negative opinion to the Council of Paris on the creation of a take-off and landing platform that would be on the quay of the Port of Austerlitz.

One of the routes planned for the taxis would link the heliport of Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine) to a barge on the Seine located near the Gare d'Austerlitz.

Not the first criticisms

The Autorité environnementale (AE), France’s independent environmental authority, had already expressed its reservations.

In September, they deemed the impact study "incomplete" for the future experimental base of flying taxis planned on the Seine, known as the "vertiport".

The AE also highlighted the energy consumption of these vehicles, which is up to 30 times higher than that of a train.

Communist councillor Jean-Noël Aqua agreed, telling the Paris City Council that the project is an "ecological aberration" combined with "social separatism", and noting that users would have to pay "the modest sum of €140 for 35 km".

Read also: Eco-activists damage French golf course to be used for Olympics

The Ministry of Transport to decide

A key phase in the finalisation of the flying taxi project will be the ruling of the Ministry of Transport, which should come "at the beginning of 2024", Groupe ADP said in September.

The vehicles will also require certification from the civil aviation authority, which is expected for "the spring of 2024".

ADP Group, which welcomes nearly 90 million passengers to the city each year, was announced as an Official Partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games earlier this year.

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