By Nancy Dahlberg
Imagine business travelers taking an electric air taxi from the airport to their convention center hotel. Commuters could use them to hop over the traffic jams to get from the suburbs to downtown Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Such a service could be popular with visitors (and locals) wanting to hit the beach or go to a concert or sporting event. There are still many regulatory hoops to get through, but so-called Urban Air Mobility in Miami could be closer than we think.
Today, Miami-based Global Crossing Airlines Group, which operates the charter and cargo airline GlobalX, announced the creation of UrbanX Air, a subsidiary formed to pioneer the integration of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in South Florida as eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) operators.
In conjunction with the announcement, GlobalX Chairman and CEO Ed Wegel appointed Lucy Morillo as president and CEO of UrbanX. “She brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm from a range of industries with a proven track record of building stakeholder engagement and leading campaigns in many sectors,” said Wegel, in announcing the move.
Morillo, the former president of Miami Children’s Foundation who has also held other executive roles in the Miami business community, is tasked with leading UrbanX’s launch and further developing the UAM ecosystem in South Florida, including working with local and state officials, infrastructure, energy and technology providers to ensure the appropriate framework is in place.
Morillo said she is also committed to operating UrbanX under a social enterprise business model, working in conjunction with local governments to ensure the service the company offers benefits more than only the passengers. “In coordination with Miami-Dade County and other local stakeholders, we will forge meaningful collaborations through a public-private partnership to ensure this cutting-edge technology lifts the entire community,” Morillo said.
UAM offers the promise of flying automated, electrically propelled small aircraft, also called air taxis, to help commuters navigate short distances at lower altitudes in urban and suburban areas, combatting traffic congestion and improving travel times, while providing a faster and greener mode of transportation.
In 2022, GlobalX, a U.S.-based 121 domestic flag and supplemental airline with more than 600 aviation professionals, signed a letter of intent to purchase 200 eVTOLs from Eve Air Mobility, a subsidiary of aircraft manufacturer Embraer and a leader in global eVTOL development, with delivery of its first Eve eVTOL expected in 2026. Meanwhile, UrbanX and Eve are collaborating to identify takeoff and landing locations for key eVTOL routes throughout the region.
All this could make UrbanX the first company to bring air taxis to South Florida.
The race is on. There are at least four other companies also wanting to make Miami an initial market, with plans to launch service between 2025 and 2028: Supernal, an eVTOL service planned by Hyundai Motor Group; Archer Aviation, one of the first to announce Miami would be one of its two launch cities, along with LA. Joby Aviation, a California startup that acquired Uber Elevate, Uber’s former air taxi arm; and Lilium, a German company that plans rides up to 180 miles in Florida. However, no company has received FAA approval in the US yet. A local startup, Doroni Aerospace, is also building an eVTOL vehicle.
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