Following 2020’s news that Orlando may soon live under Jetsons-esque skies, Tampa is now gearing up to join the race for electric air travel.
Tampa International Airport has created a new committee that will prepare and plan for “air taxis” to make their Tampa Bay debut as early as 2025.
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which oversees TPA and other general aviation airports, has launched the Advanced Aviation Technology Committee to study the rapid development of this technology and plan for its use in Tampa Bay.
The taxis, or Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), will offer high-speed air travel powered by electric batteries. Several leading eVOTL companies, including Joby, Beta Technologies and Skyports, are already in talks with TPA about bringing this technology to the city.
While no eVTOL companies have received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration yet, some are aiming for certification in 2024, with plans to get passengers in the sky in the next few years.
TPA plans for Advanced Air Mobility from Tampa International Airport on Vimeo.
Brett Fay, TPA Director of General Aviation and head of the new committee, said Tampa offers a prime location for eVTOL facilities, or “vertiports.” Tampa International Airport’s strategic location at the intersection of major highways and its proximity to Tampa Bay destinations give it the potential to become an urban mobility hub, he said.
“It’s something that we have to be prepared for and anticipate that this is going to be a new way of travel that’s going to happen,” Fay said. “In just the next couple years, you’ll start to see this unfold.”
The German aviation company Lilium Aviation Inc. got the green light in 2020 to construct a 56,000-square-foot vertiport in Orlando. This vertiport, the first in the United States, will serve Tampa, Orlando and surrounding areas once completed, offering a 30-minute trip between the two cities.