Lean green flying machines take wing in Paris, heralding transport revolution

After years of dreamy and not always credible talk of skies filled with flying, nonpolluting electric taxis, the aviation industry is preparing to deliver a future that it says is now just around the corner.

Capitalizing on its moment in the global spotlight, the Paris region is planning for a small fleet of electric flying taxis to operate on multiple routes when it hosts the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer. Unless aviation regulators in China beat Paris to the punch by greenlighting a pilotless taxi for two passengers under development there, the French capital’s prospective operator — Volocopter of Germany — could be the first to fly taxis commercially if European regulators give their OK.

Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke, a former top executive at aerospace giant Airbus, has a VVIP in mind as his hoped-for first Parisian passenger — none other than French President Emmanuel Macron.