EC adopts legislation to pave the way for air taxis and VTOL operations in Europe

The European Commission has adopted a package of secondary legislation on drones and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capable aircraft, which puts the final rules in place for the launch of Innovative Air Mobility (IAM), including air taxi services.

The package is based on regulatory proposals from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), published in Opinion No 03/2023 in August 2023. The legislation introduces a comprehensive set of requirements for piloted electric air taxis, spanning the domains of Air Operations (Air OPS), Flight Crew Licensing (FCL), Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) and Air Traffic Management (ATM). It also establishes criteria and processes for the certification and maintenance of drones.

The legislation sets out to ensure a high and uniform level of safety for aerial drones and promote innovation and development in the field of IAM while establishing an efficient, proportionate, and well-designed regulatory framework. It also aims to harmonise the regulatory framework across EU Member States.

The package is the last legislative element required for the launch of air taxi services, complementing other existing legislation. Air taxis will additionally require certification from EASA before such services can become operational in Europe.

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