Last year in August, a story that Kenya Airways and its subsidiary had signed a deal with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to bring “flying taxis” to the capital of Nairobi was going viral on the interwebs, now, it is reported that the date has finally been set by Kenya Airways to launch their new eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
According to Business Daily Africa, Kenyans will be able to enjoy much shorter and much more scenic trips to and from the airport aboard Embraer’s eVTOL vehicles from the year 2025.
in 2021, Embraer signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kenya Airways, through the national carrier’s newly established subsidiary at the time – Fahari Aviation – for the establishment of the Brazilian company’s eVTOLs in Nairobi.
Fahari Aviation is Kenya Airways’ new wing that deals with unmanned aircraft like drones and has already opened a few unmanned aerial vehicle schools to train interested Kenyans.
The eVTOLs are capable of carrying a load of 250 kilograms (about two to three people at most, or less including luggage) at 400KM per hour with an average range of 250KM per flight.
They are completely autonomous and fly via automatic systems such as radar, lidar, and 12 onboard camera sensors. However, when they launch in 2025, Embraer says, there will be one pilot on board.
The eVTOLs are also completely electrical, which is a key in the deal that is anchored on the need to introduce zero-emission electric planes in the transport sector in Kenya. The flying taxis would also provide an alternative mode of transportation for passengers in a rush according to Andre Stein, CEO of Embraer’s Urban Air Mobility Solutions unit.