Saturday, April 13, 2024

Vertiko Mobility picks Jaunt eVTOL air taxis for Québec network

Air taxis are being researched and invented globally, and many startups are coming up in this segment. It is very possible that air taxi services will be part of our daily lives even before fully autonomous vehicles.

Vertiko Mobility and Jaunt Air Mobility have signed a letter of intent for the purchase of more than 70 all-electric Jaunt Journey eVTOL aircraft as part of its plan to launch air taxi services across the Canadian province of Quebec in 2026. The aircraft will be acquired during the first five years of operation of the Québec vertiport network. The goal is to transform the letter of intent into a contract during the second quarter of 2025, with operations to begin in 2026.

Its provisional agreement with Jaunt covers 70 of the all-electric versions of the Journey aircraft and two hybrid-electric version, with an option for a further 25 additional units. The all-electric aircraft is expected to have a range of around 80 miles (128 km) at speeds of 175 mph (281 km/h), with the hybrid version being able to fly up to around 120 miles (193 km).

Under the same agreement, Jaunt will also act as a pilot training and aircraft maintenance partner with Vertiko. The company says that in 12 months between the contract signing in 2025 and the launch of operations the following year, it will train 36 pilots to fly the first nine aircraft in the Vertiko fleet.

Jaunt expects to begin the testing of the next full-scale prototype in 2023, with manufacturing to get underway in 2025. The Jaunt Journey is targeting certification per existing standards for rotorcraft under Chapter 529 of the Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulations, reinforcing the feasibility of certification by 2026.

“It is the desire to develop an unknown market with our own rules of the game (Blue Ocean Strategy) that is at the origin of Vertiko Mobility. Jaunt Air Mobility is one of the key elements of this strategy,” says John Valley, president of Vertiko Mobility.

To meet the operational objectives for the first year of the Vertiko Mobility network, five vertiports will need to be built between now and the end of March 2025. The company is currently discussing with potential partners for the construction project.