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Miami Planned Air Taxi Would Be a U.S. First

The South Florida company has announced plans to buy Lilium electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jets, and to begin flying in Miami in 2026. It’s believed to be the first U.S. airline to integrate eVTOL craft into its fleet.

In this rendering, an UrbanLink flight via a Lilium jet approaches a coastal city.
A photo rendering of an UrbanLink flight via a Lilium Jet.
Courtesy Photo: Lilium
A newly announced agreement means small, electric, commercial air taxis could begin flying above Miami and other parts of south Florida two years from now.

UrbanLink Air Mobility, an emerging operator of electric vertical takeoff and landing — known as eVTOL in the aviation community — has announced plans to acquire 20 small electric jets from Lilium, a German aviation company.

“While many companies have discussed the idea of operating an eVTOL aircraft, none have made a definitive commitment. We are the first airline in the U.S. to integrate the eVTOL airline into our fleet. And this will make carbon-free regional air travel a reality,” said Ed Wegel, founder and chairman of UrbanLink Air Mobility, speaking at the CoMotion Miami conference Monday. The company detailed its plans to get federal certifications in Q4 2025, and to expand into other markets including Los Angeles, in a news release.

“We will transform the way people move to and from, as well as within, urban cores, enhancing connectivity and sustainability,” Wegel said.

UrbanLink’s move to introduce electrified air mobility into the U.S. travel market is seen as a next phase in the way electrified transportation is evolving across sectors. The eVTOL movement — seen as far-fetched even a few years ago — aims to bring fleets of small air taxis to cities, allowing the tiny aircraft, accommodating two to four passengers, to land and take off from urban “verti-ports,” similar to helipads.

But UrbanLink’s proposal is not built upon the verti-port concept, if only because verti-port development, said Wegel, “is going to take some time.”

Instead, the company is proposing partnering with fixed-base operations, known as FBOs, which are companies that typically operate out of local commercial airports, offering services including fuel and hangar space to operators.

“I think South Florida is the test bed. We will prove the concept here. That will then be transportable all over the world,” the chairman said.

The planes developed by Lilium are designed to seat six passengers and travel up to 100 miles. With new battery technology being developed in the next 12 to 18 months, this range is expected to grow.

Continued concerns around greenhouse gas emissions from air travel will drive innovation in electric aviation, said Kevin Noertker, co-founder and CEO of Ampaire Inc., a maker of hybrid-electric aviation technology.

“Electrification enables you to distribute propulsion on an aircraft unlike you’ve ever been able to do before. That gives you the capacity to design beautiful planes like the Lilium Jet and others,” he said. “What we’re seeing is this upswell of technology on the supply side, and demand for use cases.”

The challenge, he added in comments at the conference, lies in marrying technology with demand, in a way that connects with regulators and others in the ecosystem.

The first Lilium Jets are due to arrive in late 2025 or early 2026, with service set to begin in the summer of 2026, Wegel said. In a statement, Sebastien Borel, Lilium’s chief commercial officer, called the jets purchase a U.S. eVTOL milestone.

“We believe that this purchase of eVTOL aircraft is the first by a commercial operator that isn’t invested in the manufacturer that it is purchasing from,” Borel said. “This is a sign that the market for eVTOL aircraft has matured and there is growing demand for aircraft that can provide connections between, rather than just within, cities.”

Government Technology is a sister site to Governing. Both are divisions of e.Republic.
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