Air taxis: are German airports well prepared?

New regular services can increase airport attractiveness and turnover.

Integrating small air taxis with electric propulsion systems into the operations at major German commercial airports is an important topic for the future. These VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft can shuttle passengers rapidly between city centers and airports—as an alternative to transportation on crowded roads. They need only a small amount of space to take off and land. A survey by the Porsche Consulting management consultancy showed that Frankfurt Airport is working on air taxi strategies in very concrete terms—in partnership with a maker of these aircraft. The Frankfurt experts see operational challenges: how to integrate these new small aircraft into the highly utilized airspace of the Rhine-Main area is a task that needs to be mastered.

At Düsseldorf Airport a group of specialists was formed specifically to work on integrating aerial taxis. Talks are underway with system manufacturers, and the resulting airport requirements are being formulated. Stuttgart Airport is also making preparations. Its “fairport STR” strategy is intended to make the hub in Baden-Württemberg one of the most high-performing and sustainable airports in Europe. Air taxis can make a contribution here. Stuttgart is already the home airport of a research project on zero-emission flights. As an incentive, take-off and landing fees for electric aircraft are expected to be waived for a year there. According to the survey, other commercial airports in Germany are monitoring how the industry continues to develop.