Volocopter announced its commitment Wednesday (9December) to launch air taxi services in Singapore after two years of close collaboration with the city. Working together with the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Volocopter plans to make air taxi services a reality in the Southeast Asian city-state within the next three years. “This puts Singapore in pole position to launch Urban Air Mobility in Asia,” the company said in a statement. In preparation for the launch, Volocopter has founded Volocopter Asia Holding and hired Hon Lung Chu as its head of Asia-Pacific in Singapore.
In October 2019, Volocopter completed an air taxi demonstration flight in Singapore over the Marina Bay area. Leading up to this flight, the company opened a Singapore office in 2019, conducted extensive flight tests, and worked with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and CAAS, to receive the necessary permits to fly.
Before launching services in Singapore, Volocopter will obtain regulatory approvals, including those from CAAS and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Volocopter’s regulatory approvals will be facilitated by CAAS and EASA’s Working Arrangement on Airworthiness Certification, which allows for validation of type certification to be done concurrently and in close coordination. To achieve this, Volocopter will be conducting tests, flight trials, evaluations, and certification before approval to commence commercial air taxi operations can be granted.
“Singapore is renowned for its leading role in adapting and living new technologies. Our successful cooperation with EDB, MOT, and CAAS on our previous flight has shown that there is no better place in Asia to launch our electric air taxi services than in Singapore,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “The city’s research institutes conducting R&D play an integral part in this. Topics like route validation for autonomous operations, material science, and research regarding battery technology are very important for our long-term business success.”
The first route in Singapore is expected to be a tourist route offering views of the Marina Bay skyline. This could provide Singapore with a new attraction to enhance Singapore’s tourism industry in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow-on connections may include cross-border flights, which may enhance regional connectivity and offer a significantly improved travel experience to Singapore’s closest economic centres.
Leading up to the launch of commercial operations, Volocopter will hire a team of 50 pilots, engineers, operation specialists, and business managers in the next three years. The company is expected to hire over 200 full-time employees in Singapore to manage a network of Singapore routes by 2026. Volocopter has also initiated research and development projects with local institutions, starting with Fraunhofer Singapore at the Nanyang Technological University.
Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 200 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. The company is managed by CEO Florian Reuter, CTO Arnaud Coville, CFO Rene Griemens, and CCO Christian Bauer, and has raised a total of 122 million euros in equity. Volocopter‘s investors include Daimler, Geely, DB Schenker, Intel Capital, Team Europe, btov, Micron, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, TransLink Capital (Japan Airlines and Sompo Japan Insurance), MS&AD Ventures, and Manta Ray Ventures.