The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published rules for the operation of air taxis in cities, covering the technical domains of airworthiness, air operations, flight crew licensing and rules of the air.
The proposed regulatory framework is open to public consultation until 30 September 2022.
The new air taxi rules complement existing EU regulatory material for operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the unmanned traffic management system known in Europe as U-space, and the certification of aircraft capable of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), as well as EASA guidance on the design of vertiports.
“EASA becomes the first aviation regulator worldwide to release a comprehensive regulatory framework for operations of VTOL-capable aircraft, which will offer air taxi and similar services,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “We have done our best to address general societal concerns and the expectations of EU citizens with respect to safety, security, privacy, environment and noise.”
Manufacturers in Europe have signalled that they will be ready for certification of VTOL aircraft in the next few years. These aircraft will enable new air mobility concepts in the framework of the ‘smart, green and digital’ cities initiative led by the European Commission.
In developing its proposals for new rules for the different types of aircraft designs and operations, EASA applies a step-by-step approach that is closely aligned with actual industry development. As such, certain future developments (e.g. VTOL-capable aircraft without a human pilot on board) are not yet covered in this proposal. They will be addressed by EASA with separate proposals when needed and in line with technological progress.