The City of Arlington says they plan to bring air taxis to the area within the next two and a half years, flying between the city’s municipal airport, Entertainment District, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Alicia Winkelblech, director of transportation for the city of Arlington, spoke with NBC 5 Friday about the announcement between the city and Overair, a California-based company designing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL, pronounced e-vee-toll) aircraft capable of point-to-point service.
The city’s ambitious plan includes building a vertiport at Arlington Municipal Airport and from there literally launching air taxi service into the city. A vertiport is a place where eVTOLs can land, recharge, and deliver and pick up passengers or cargo. The initial plan calls for passengers to be picked up and flown between the vertiport, DFW Airport, or the city’s Entertainment District — the home to Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, four pro sports teams, and a plethora of shopping, dining, and live entertainment.
“Residents and visitors coming to Arlington will be able to come to our airport, get on an eVTOL, and take a really fast, convenient trip to DFW Airport,” said Alicia Winkelblech, director of transportation for the city of Arlington. “We’re also excited because we’re going to be able to offer that same service into our entertainment district.”
Winkelblech said the city plans to have the service ready and functional by the time the World Cup begins in the summer of 2026.
“Arlington is known for our innovative approach to mobility. We have an autonomous vehicle program in the city. We have our on-demand ride share … we see the eVTOLs becoming part of our transportation system,” Winkelblech said.
The ultimate goal, Winkelblech said, is to make it possible for residents or visitors to be able to move through Arlington without a personal vehicle, using the city’s on-demand rideshare system and then access an eVTOL to get to the Entertainment District, DFW Airport or, eventually, a location elsewhere in North Texas.
“Arlington is excited to be the first vertiport in what is probably a future regional system. We’re at the very beginning of a new phase in transportation, something that we haven’t done before. There’s a lot of work to be done … but I think ultimately we’ll see ourselves moving around the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region in these types of vehicles as an additional option,” Winkelblech said of the air service.
The aircraft, dubbed Butterfly, is being developed by Overair and can carry a pilot, five passengers, and luggage. The company said, “Butterfly’s unique proprietary propulsion system and oversized rotors allow the aircraft to fly safely, quietly, and efficiently in a wide variety of weather conditions.” The aircraft has a range of about 100 miles, can travel up to 200 mph, and is fully electric with zero emissions.
As part of the agreement, Overair will also establish a base of operations in North Central Texas, bringing new
jobs to residents.
The company also announced Thursday they were entering into a partnership with DFW Airport to explore what’s needed to make the service a sustainable reality. They also will need to tackle operational problems such as how they’ll approach and depart the airport, how passengers and cargo will be loaded and unloaded, and what safety protocols will need to be implemented to ensure safe flight operations.
“Today’s agreement is a major step toward bringing Advanced Air Mobility to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing metropolitan areas,” said Overair CCO Valerie Manning. “We look forward to working closely with DFW to ensure the more than 8 million people living throughout this region, along with the millions of visitors per year, will have easy access to safe, fast, affordable, and eco-friendly travel options.”
While Manning said it’s expected to be affordable, officials have not said just yet how much they expect rides to cost.
Of course, this isn’t the first time residents of North Texas have been promised air taxi service. In 2017, Uber announced they were partnering with Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter, now branded as Bell Flight, and four other aircraft manufacturers to build flying taxis with the goal being to whisk people around North Texas.
The Uber Elevate plan called for Hillwood to develop at least three vertiports for testing by 2020, including one in Frisco, and to have full-scale taxi operations over North Texas by this year. That plan never came to pass and Uber Elevate was sold to Joby Aviation in 2020. Since then, there’s not been much talk of air taxis in North Texas, however, Joby is still at it and announced as recently as this week that they successfully performed an exhibition flight on Sunday of their eVTOL aircraft over New York City.