Jet-powered flying taxi unveiled following first flight

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LONDON
The world’s first all-electric vertical takeoff and landing passenger jet has been unveiled after completing its first flight. German start-up Lilium aims to have a fleet of the five-seat aircraft which can operate with a pilot or in drone mode flying in cities worldwide by 2025, providing a payper-ride service that will be emission-free, five times faster than a car and produce less noise than a motorbike. Lilium has US$100 million (S$137 million) in funds and must raise at least the same amount again to bring the model to market, while adding hundreds more jobs to its payroll of 300 people, chief executive officer Daniel Wiegand told business news channel. The plane will have a 300km range, allowing it to link New York and Boston. A short hop between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Manhattan will cost about US$70 per passenger, making it cheaper than a helicopter and competitive with topend limousine services, chief commercial officer Remo Gerber said in an interview. A full-scale, full-weight prototype made its debut flight from Lilium’s base near Munich on May 4 and has commenced flight tests, the company said.— VoM

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