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Uber Targeting 2023 Launch of Its Flying Taxi Service


Jun. 19 2019, Updated 3:09 p.m. ET

Uber’s air taxi tests to start next year

Uber Technologies (UBER) has picked Melbourne as another test site for its flying taxi service known as UberAir. The Australian city is the first international test site Uber has chosen for its flying taxi service. The addition of Melbourne brings the number of test locations Uber has picked for its UberAir service to three. The others are Dallas and Los Angeles in the United States.

UberAir will use special types of pilotless aircraft to transport customers. People will be able to order Uber’s air service the same way they currently do Uber’s road-based ride-hailing service. Uber is planning to begin test flights of its air service in 2020 and aims for commercial launch in 2023.

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Uber seeking multiple avenues in the $285 billion ride-hailing industry

With the flying taxi service, Uber is looking to open another avenue to capture ride-hailing dollars. According to Goldman Sachs estimates, the global ride-hailing market will grow nearly ten times to reach $285 billion by 2030 from $36 billion in 2017.

Uber’s revenue for the first quarter increased 20% YoY to $3.1 billion. Revenue rose 95% YoY to $776 million at Lyft (LYFT) in the first quarter. Yandex (YNDX) reported 145% YoY revenue increase in its taxi business. Yandex runs a ride-hailing business in Russia and neighboring markets as a joint venture with Uber. Revenue rose 13.3% YoY to $150 million in Alphabet’s (GOOGL) segment, which houses ride-hailing business Waymo. Baidu (BIDU) is also gearing up to enter the ride-hailing market with an autonomous taxi service set to launch in the Chinese city of Changsha as early as this year, according to a report from China Daily.


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