Can air taxis save Asia’s congested cities?

A flying air taxi is expected to make its debut over Singapore’s skies later this month but could be more useful in Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Yangon.
By: | October 8, 2019
Topics: Asia-Pacific | Mobility | News

When you think of which Asian cities might benefit the most from an air taxi, Singapore wouldn’t make the top 5 given its excellent public transport and relatively uncongested roads.

But Germany’s Volocopter will testing out its new air taxi in the city state this month, in what could be a familiar fixture in the coming years. The firm has already conducted closed-door trials at Seletar Airport.

The trials tested the passenger drone’s performance in Singapore’s hot and humid weather, and also demonstrated the feasibility and safety of the aircraft to Singaporean authorities.

But road congestion is far less of a problem given the high costs of owning a car and strict quotas on the number of vehicles on Singapore’s roads. Cities like Jakarta, Manila and KL have much more congested roads, often gridlocked at peak times.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released last month measured the cost of congestion, based on work time lost by commuters, vehicle operating costs and air pollution.

Out of the 278 Asian cities surveyed, three cities in the Southeast Asian dominate the most congested spots – Manila, KL and Yangon.