WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has proposed new rules aimed at making commercial air taxi operations possible by the middle of the decade.
Electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, touted as future flying taxis, have drawn interest around the world, and many eVTOL companies have gone public.
The FAA issued a proposal to update its air carrier definition to add "powered-lift" operations to regulations covering other commercial operations.
In a statement to Reuters, the agency said, "This powered-lift definitions rule lays the foundation that will allow operators to use powered-lift aircraft."
The agency is also drafting a powered-lift operations rule for certifying pilots and operating requirements for flying eVTOLs.
The FAA expects to publish the proposal next summer.
Last week, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen told reporters that the agency does not expect the first eVTOL to begin commercial operations until late 2024 or early 2025.
"At any rate, it will not happen until the safety piece has been satisfied," he said.
Airlines are also looking at launching transport services to ferry travelers to airports or on short trips between cities using battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically.
Earlier this month, the FAA issued the airworthiness criteria that air taxi startup Joby Aviation must meet for operating its Model JAS4-1 eVTOL aircraft.
Joby said after receiving FAA approvals, it expects to start commercial passenger air taxi services in 2025.
Last month, Delta Air Lines said it has invested $60 million in Joby to offer passengers air taxi transport to and from airports in New York and Los Angeles, which will start in a few years.