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The DGCA will soon outline a roadmap for air taxis

Following the conclusion of India's largest electoral activity, the Aviation Ministry wasted no time in initiating work on urban air mobility. Partnering with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the ministry has established multiple technical committees to pave the way for air taxis to operate in the country. Speculations suggest that the project will kick off in major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Bengaluru by 2026, expanding to include Chennai and Hyderabad later on.

Once the necessary rules for various aspects of e-vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) are formulated, InterGlobe Enterprises (IGE), the parent company of IndiGo, will collaborate with US air taxi manufacturer Archer Aviation to establish the required infrastructure. The aviation authorities of India will also define the technical requirements which are required by the air taxis in order to operate in the country.

According to Nikhil Goel, Chief Commercial Officer of Archer, the cost per passenger for this service is expected to be only slightly higher than that of Uber. The DGCA has formed several panels to address different aspects of air taxis, including air navigation, permissible routes, safety standards for vertiports, and more. It is anticipated that all necessary arrangements will be in place for air taxis to commence operations in India by 2026, positioning the country ahead in terms of regulatory readiness for eVTOL services and urban air mobility.

Archer recently engaged with Indian aviation authorities to discuss the rollout of the program in India, while IGE maintains regular communication with regulators on the matter. IGE's Chief, Rahul Bhatia, recently placed an order for 200 Midnight air taxis from Archer, valued at approximately one billion dollars. Archer aims to launch operations in the US, starting with New York and Chicago next year, followed by India and the UAE.

Considering the severe congestion in Indian cities, urban air mobility is poised to revolutionize transportation, similar to the impact of mobile telephony in the mid-1980s. Bhatia believes that air taxis will provide a powerful solution to alleviate congestion and enhance mobility across the country.

Bhatia clarified that while a ride from Delhi to Gurgaon typically costs between Rs 1,500-2,000 with Uber, the anticipated fare for an air taxi trip is expected to be approximately 1.5 times higher, ranging from Rs 2,000-3,000 per passenger.

Archer plans to commence manufacturing Midnight at its Georgia facility this year and is collaborating with Stellantis, an auto major, to produce air taxis in various locations, including India.

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