Uber will launch its air taxi service, Uber Air, in Melbourne next year
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Uber’s first air-travel market outside of the United States will be in Melbourne, Australia.
Test flights will begin in 2020 with commercial operations happening by 2023, the company said. Melbourne will be the first international city to join Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, as pilot cities.
“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” Susan Anderson, Uber’s general manager for Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia, said.
“This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”
Uber is touting the urban air mobility offering as a way to help alleviate traffic congestion, which it estimates costs the country $US16.5 billion annually. By 2030, Uber says, that cost could hit $US30 billion.
“As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable,” Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said.
“Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes.”