Uber has confirmed that Melbourne in Australia will be its first international market for the Uber Air service.
Melbourne will also join Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot cities for the program, with test flights due to start from 2020 and plans for commercial operations to commence from 2023.
Uber says its Air program aims to open up urban air mobility, and help alleviate transport congestion on the ground.
In the long term, the vision is for safe, quiet electric vehicles transporting tens of thousands of people across cities for the same price as an UberX trip over the same distance.
Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia made the announcement at Uber’s global Elevate Summit in Washington.
She said: “Since we entered the market in 2012, Australians have embraced Uber wholeheartedly. Today, over 3.8 million Aussies regularly use Uber as a reliable way to get from A to B, and governments across the country have recognised the important role ridesharing plays in the future of transport for our cities.”
Adding: “Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology. This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”
Anderson went on to say how the State Government of Victoria had been highly supportive.
Eric Allison, the global head of Uber Elevate, commented: “As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable. Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes.”
Uber also announced partnerships with leading Australian companies, Macquarie, Telstra and Scentre Group, owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand and will work with key existing partners including Melbourne Airport who collectively will support the infrastructure and telecommunications needed to create a successful urban aviation network.