After riding Uber cabs, now flying in Uber Air Taxis may become a reality in the coming years. Uber has initiaited discussions with the Indian government to allow it to ply air taxis in India, as per a report in Economic Times.
Uber has chosen Japan, France, Brazil and Australia, apart from India to launch its air taxi services. Melbourne in Australia has been chosen for a pilot project earlier this week. Even if the Indian government were to give the go ahead, it may take some time before the actual operations begin. Uber itself puts the timeframe as 5 to 10 years.
It is reported that Uber officials have held meetings right at the top levels of the government including the Prime Minister himself. The company has formed an umbrella unit called Uber Elevate. Though running the air taxi will be the major activity, some ancillary services like food delivery may be brought under it.
The government will have to look at the additional infrastructure needed to accommodate the air taxis within the existing civil aviation ecosystem.
Uber is betting on the fact that since the Indian government has been able to make the right moves with regard to flying drones, the same may be done with the air taxi segment too.
Uber is trying to convey that India could follow what some of the aviation regulators have done in the US and Europe, the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, respectively.
The automatic question in everyone’s mind is what kind of fares Uber will charge for these services. It may be too early to make even a rough estimate. However, Uber believes given India’s large population and the potential it brings in the form of a market, the fares will have to be competitive.