Transcend Air wants to get business travellers directly to and from major cities with a new flying taxi service. The Boston-based aviation company is working on the prototype for a six-seater aircraft that will get commuters from New York to Boston (US$283 (€245) one-way) in 36 minutes, from Los Angeles to San Francisco (US$315 (€273) one-way) in 55 minutes and from Montreal to Toronto (US$325 (€282) one-way) in just one hour.
“This is a necessary and transformative addition to city-to-city transportation options,” the company’s co-founder Greg Bruell said in a statement. “It solves multiple problems at once: we’ll take cars off congested roads, reduce pollution around airports and lower the cost of air transportation while drastically reducing travel times.”
Their six-seater vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft flies like a jet but takes off and lands like a helicopter, meaning it can depart from almost anywhere. The aircraft features a tilt-wing, fly-by-wire design similar to the CL-84, created by Canadair in the 1960s. Seats will be comparable in size to most commercial airlines but there’ll be no restrooms to save on space. They’ll have a range of 450 miles, with speeds up to 405 miles per hour – three times faster than a helicopter.
Co-founder Peter Schmidt told Lonely Planet that inspiration for the flying taxi service came out of the simple need to commute faster. “My co-founder and CEO, Greg Bruell, found his trips from Boston to see family on Long Island were taking longer and longer over the years, due to traffic congestion on the ground and with the airlines. He wanted a solution to fly over all that mess.”
He added: “I ran Linear Air for five years, and saw the huge potential market in expanding its model through using a novel VTOL aircraft to locate the service near where business travellers work and meet – in city centres. Greg brought the VTOL aircraft experience, while I brought the startup airline experience. It’s been an effective combination.”
The company has already started the certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration and hopes to introduce the service in 2024.
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