After Quantum Air from Los Angeles ordered 26 small electric aircraft from Bye Aerospace last year, the planned air taxi service will take off in the course of next year around Los Angeles.
The plan is to connect Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with other airports in the Los Angeles area. Quantum intends to become the first commercial operator of electric aircraft with the eFlyer from Bye Aerospace.
The eFlyers ordered are two and four-seater small aircraft. They have a conventional centrally mounted electric propeller. Quantum says that while the commercial launch of electric vertical takeoff aircraft (eVTOL) is still “years away”, what the company calls eCOTL (electric conventional take-off and landing) is ready for commercial application now.
Quantum Air intends to use the conventionally departing electric aircraft to operate ultra-short flights between local airports in the Los Angeles region and LAX. Tony Thompson, CEO of Quantum, told Robb Report that the eCTOL fleet is designed for intra-city travellers who want to measure travel time in minutes, rather than hours on the highway.
George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, points out that electric aircraft have considerably lower operating costs. He calculates that the two-seater eFlyer 2 will cost $23 per flying hour, while a Cessna 172 costs around $110 US per hour in addition to higher maintenance costs. What remains to be seen is at what price Quantum will offer its local flight service. The company only says that here, they are making the service “amazingly affordable”. It will also be interesting to see how the ultra-short-haul flights, which basically constitute personal vehicles, will be handled at such a busy airport as LAX.
Because Quantum is expecting a rapid uptake of these services, the company has developed pilot training programs with the Norwegian aviation training company OSM. “Our partnership with OSM means that Quantum pilots will fly commercially in essentially the same aircraft in which they trained,” Thompson says. “Our pilots will be intimately familiar with their aircraft, setting a new standard for safety.”
The project has been named Quantum X. Quantum will eventually use this project framework to enter the eVTOL market when the time comes.
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