Air taxis from Groningen Airport Eelde: valuable addition to the accessibility of the Northern Netherlands

A study into Urban air Mobility (air taxis/eVTOLs) by the PEN EM Foundation and M3 Consultancy, made possible in part by Hive.Mobility, shows that electric air taxis will play a role in accessibility in and from/to the Northern Netherlands.

The eVTOL flights do not emit CO2 and particulate matter, have lower costs and are quieter than current helicopter flights. These vertical take-off electric aircraft have a capacity of 2-7 passengers, an initial range of up to 100 kilometers and a speed of approximately 250 – 280 km/h. According to preliminary calculations, the energy consumption per seat is the same as one passenger in a Tesla on the highway.

Gerben Broekema, co-founder of PEN EM: “Most people can imagine what it would be like to replace current helicopter operations, such as medical flights, with this cleaner, quieter and cheaper technology. But it is expected that the costs will fall to such an extent in the longer term that passenger transport with air taxis will also become realistic for the Dutch market.”

Accessibility Northern Netherlands

There are several routes within and from/to the Northern Netherlands that are relevant for passenger transport. This includes fast and sustainable transport to ports, destinations across the border or the Wadden Islands. The operational integration of the air taxis at regional airports such as Groningen Airport Eelde is easily feasible. Meiltje de Groot, Director Groningen Airport Eelde: “From the airport, we are committed to an innovative and sustainable future. With the arrival of air taxis, we can make a valuable contribution to this development, making the Northern Netherlands even more accessible and attractive for business.”

It is important that several so-called ‘vertiports’ are eventually developed to increase the network of air taxis. The current airports and heliports in the Netherlands are a good base. Groningen Airport Eelde is one of these airports: “The aim is to connect the air taxis to a network with electrical connections, with which you can transfer at Groningen Airport Eelde to another desired destination,” says de Groot.

Affordable and time saving

In the study, which was made possible in part by Hive.Mobility, the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and Regio Groningen Assen, M3 Consultancy and PEN EM calculated that around 2030 prices on distances of 50 to 100 km will be competitive with regular taxis on long distance. Towards 2035, the price per person for an air taxi flight of 100-150 km is estimated at approximately € 60 – € 80. A flight of approximately forty kilometers will cost you € 40 – € 50. This is based on the so-called ridesharing model, where each chair is sold separately.

In addition to cost savings and reduction in emissions, an air taxi ride can also save a lot of time. A journey from, for example, Emmen to Ameland (110 km direct distance) now takes more than four hours when traveling by public transport. If you travel from Emmen by car to Groningen Airport Eelde, where you then take an air taxi to Ameland, the journey only takes an hour and a half. The costs per person for this much faster journey around 2030 will be approximately € 20 – € 40 extra per passenger, compared to public transport.

Ilse Mensink, Hive.Mobility program manager: “The Northern Netherlands has an innovative ecosystem that is active in the field of sustainable and smart mobility. This makes it possible to carry out this type of research relatively quickly and to convert the results into concrete initiatives.”

Air taxi service ELECTRON Aviation

In October it was already announced that Groningen Airport Eelde will be the first operational airport for electric aviation taxis of ELECTRON Aviation. The organization wants to start operating the air taxi service from Groningen Airport Eelde from 2026, with the electric Electron 5 aircraft. These are horizontal take-off aircraft (eCTOL) with a range of 750 km.