The Tampa International Airport is gearing up to handle the growing emergence of air taxis.
TPA’s Hillsborough County Aviation Authority has launched the Advanced Aviation Technology Committee to plan or the arrival of air taxis, also referred to as eVOTL (electric vertical takeoff and landing), which are expected to debut in Tampa as early as 2025.
Air taxi companies such as Joby, Beta Technologies, Wisk, Ferrovial and Skyports are in talks with TPA.
“This is something coming. It’s not just a pie-in-the-sky idea, this is happening,” Brett Fay, HCAA director of general aviation, said in TPA’s video announcement. “It’s going to happen over the next few years.”
Although the air taxi companies have not yet received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, Fay explained the airport wants to have a seat at the table when the aircraft makes its debut.
Fay noted how the Tampa Executive Airport would suffice as an ideal vertiport location as it’s strategically based between Interstates I-75 and I-4 and could allow passengers to easily commute to the nearby beaches or theme parks.
“It has the potential to be an urban air mobility hub that could serve this activity. It’s right there at the core of the two major interstates,” he said onscreen.
The aircraft is similar to helicopters; however, it is entirely battery-powered.
German aviation company Lilium Aviation is constructing a 56,000-square-foot vertiport facility in Orlando, which will also serve Tampa and other areas.
While formation of the committee to prepare for the futuristic transit technology is new, the discussion has long been underway.
Over the past few years, TPA CEO Joe Lopano has talked about embracing air taxis and the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority has also publicly interviewed air taxi companies, including Lilium and Wisk, about potentially developing local vertiports.
TBARTA was able to engage with prospective companies as it was awarded a $1 million grant for the Innovative Transit Technologies Feasibility Study, which included identifying feasible transit tech for the region.
Earlier this year, Eve Air Mobility, a spinoff of the Florida-based Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer, also pitched its eVTOL aircraft to TBARTA, proposing routes that could connect Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
However, TBARTA never entered formal agreements with the interviewed air taxi companies.