UK government publishes Future of Flight action plan

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A new plan released by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has set out a roadmap for drones and novel electric aircraft to be flying in the UK by 2030.

The Future of Flight action plan details an ambitious vision including the first piloted flying taxi flight by 2026, regular services by 2028, regular drone deliveries by 2027 and demos of pilotless autonomous flying taxis by 2030. The joint industry and government plan sets out the strategic direction of the sector over the next five years.

Aviation and Technology Minister, Anthony Browne said: “Cutting-edge battery technology will revolutionise transport as we know it – this plan will make sure we have the infrastructure and regulation in place to make it a reality. From flying taxis to emergency service drones, we’re making sure the UK is at the forefront of this dramatic shift in transportation – improving people’s lives and boosting the economy.”

Some of the other actions set out in the plan include: allowing drones to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), setting out how smaller aerodromes can operate as vertiports for eVTOL aircraft, developing standards to improve security for drones and engaging communities and local authorities to raise awareness of new technologies. 

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO at Vertical Aerospace said: “The UK has a long heritage in aerospace and the publication of this plan sets out how we will lead the next revolution of flight. With government and business working together, we can unleash the huge economic, environmental, and social benefits of zero emissions flight globally. Vertical is hugely proud to be at the forefront of leading this new chapter.”

Sophie O’Sullivan, head of Future Safety and Innovation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority added: “Aviation stands on the cusp of its next, potentially biggest, revolution since the invention of the jet engine. Drones, eVTOL and other different vehicles have the potential to change transportation options forever. We welcome the firm direction the government’s Future of Flight action plan provides for the industry as it continues to innovate. Our role in this bright future of aviation will be enabling technological advances and providing regulatory support while ensuring that all forms of new aviation technology enjoy the same high safety standards as traditional aviation.”

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