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'Development in full swing’: Russian Helicopters plans to enter air taxi market

'Development in full swing’: Russian Helicopters plans to enter air taxi market
As air taxi services promise to become an everyday reality soon, Russian Helicopters says it is also ‘seriously’ considering entering the market.

The company’s chief executive Andrei Boginsky told TASS: “We are interested in this segment. Furthermore, we have opened a tender of developments and startups on the topic of air mobility and integration of helicopters with the urban environment, being ready to consider interesting projects.”

According to Boginsky, the firm plans to convert its light single-engine VRT-500 helicopter to an air taxi.

“It is a mockup, so far, but development is in full swing and we do not rule out its adaptation or creation of a new product on its base.”

The CEO said the unmanned air taxi market is a prospect for after 2025, “but preparations should start now,” adding: “We view this market very seriously.”

The VRT 500 is a lightweight coaxial-type helicopter project by Russian Helicopters. Its takeoff weight is 1.6 tons. The helicopter was first announced in 2007, with a mockup presented ten years later at the MAKS airshow. The first flight of the VRT 500 is scheduled for 2020 and the serial production is planned to start in 2022. About a thousand units are expected to be sold by 2035.

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