Flying taxis will be ferrying us around within a decade, say experts.
Prototypes will be tested at Elstree Aerodrome, near where classic films Star Wars and The Dam Busters took to the air.
The electric planes for up to four passengers will take off and land vertically, so will not need a runway.
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“Aerotaxis” could fly between Elstree near to the M1 and a converted-helipad at Canary Wharf, in east London.
The business called Skyports is financed by the billionaire Ryan family, the founders of budget airline Ryanair. The firm is already working on “vertiports” in Singapore, Paris and the US.
And it has deals with National Air Traffic Services to use Heathrow and City airports.
The plan is to offer the service to wealthy travellers who want to avoid traffic jams.
Duncan Walker, 43, the founder and chief executive of Skyports, said: “People have been sceptical about urban aviation mobility.
“What we have here is something that has never been seen before anywhere in the world.
“We are one step closer to commercial operations.”
And Dirk Hoke, chief executive of partner Volocopter, said: “This is pioneering – our mission is not to wait to fly until 2030, as some people have thought with urban air mobility, but to fly services in 2024.
“Not much more than 18 months away.
“We are bringing air mobility to life not in the future but in the now.”
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Skyports was only founded in 2018, but it has taken a leading role in what it calls the Urban Air Mobility ecosystem of designing, building, owning and operating vertiports.
A spokesman said: “Skyports Drone Services uses drone technology to enable businesses to develop their logistics, capture key data, and improve operational efficiency.
“We are active in the rural deliveries, survey, surveillance and maritime verticals.
“We are proud to have a diverse and talented team based around the world with expertise ranging from technology, airspace, engineering, real estate, operations and consulting.”
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