Jaunt Air Mobility is working with urban air mobility infrastructure group Varon Vehicles to prepare for the launch of eVTOL aircraft operations in Latin America. During 2021, the companies expect to identify cities across the region that could be early adopters of the new mode of transportation and to identify what it will take to make this happen.
Varon Vehicles plans to develop a network of vertiports that it says can be connected via “well-defined low altitude virtual lanes” for the eVTOL aircraft to fly in. It envisages that these landing sites will be both within and outside urban areas to support flights for commuters, tourists, logistics companies, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers.
Jaunt is developing a family of hybrid-electric eVTOL aircraft, including the Journey model, which would carry five passengers on trips of up to almost 70 miles. The U.S. company is aiming to begin flight demonstrations in 2023 and be ready for commercial operations by 2026, after completing FAA type certification under existing Part 29 rules covering rotorcraft.
Varon Vehicles intends to start developing its planned “infrastructure networks” in Colombia. Founder and CEO Felipe Varon said that his team is already working with the country’s civil aviation authority and also with industry partners in Latin America.
“Technology now makes it possible to tap into unused low-altitude airspace over cities and suburbs in an environmentally friendly manner to provide potentially disruptive transportation services and invaluable connectivity,” said Varon.
Speaking at this week's Vertical Flight Society Electric VTOL Symposium, Varon said that, while some major Latin American cities are far smaller in area than their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe (maybe only 15 miles across), they have some of the worst mobility problems in the world due to extreme road congestion.
Large metropolitan areas—such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as well as Mexico City—have seen extensive use of privately owned and chartered helicopters.