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Why Florida residents might quickly see jet-powered "flying taxis"

Florida is known for its strange news. In the past few weeks alone, one resident reported an alligator in her garage that turned out to be a pool floatie. another discovered a python in her washing machine; and a horse had to be pulled from a septic tank by firefighters.

Still, don't fire Orlando residents saying they saw taxis flying overhead because they might be arriving. Lilium Aviation, a five-year-old startup based in Munich, Germany that designs and manufactures electric vertical take-off and landing jets, is reportedly seeking tax incentives to build a 56,000-square-foot transportation hub with the promise that it will create 100 high-wage jobs in return.

According to the Orlando Business Sentinel, the proposed facility – a take-off and landing pad that would be part of Lilium's first transportation network in the U.S. – would represent a $ 25 million investment and the city's own estimates would represent an economic impact of $ 1.7 million US dollars have over a 10 year period. (In September, Lilium started to investigate together with the German Düsseldorf Airport and Cologne-Bonn Airport how the two airports could become regional hubs for air mobility.)

It's probably a good time for Lillium, whose planes aren't expected to be operational until 2025, to talk to cities about additional airport revenue. Passenger traffic has fallen through the ground due to the pandemic, and cargo traffic has not been immune either. Aviation and non-aviation services now account for 95% of airport revenue.

Lilium also has a bit more pocket money after raising $ 35 million in new funds in June, led by Baillie Gifford. the largest investor in Tesla, a round that brought the company's total funding to $ 375 million.

Former investors in the company are Atomico, Tencent Holdings and Free Spirit.

We sat down with Atomico founder Niklas Zennström at the end of 2016 when the company had just led a € 10 million Series A in Lilium, a bet that was early on at the time despite the existence of rivals like Terrafugia and AeroMobile seemed to be a reality pretty soon. In fact, at least 15 flying “cars” and “taxis” are currently under development.

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