Computer generated image provided by Uber Technologies shows a flying taxi to be built by Embraer. File photo: Uber Technologies via AP

Sao Paulo, Brazil - A network of electric aircraft Uber Technologies is developing with Brazilian planemaker Embraer is likely to launch commercially in 2024. 

Embraer Chief Executive Paulo Cesar de Souza said on Friday the business model and financial commitments of the partnership had not yet been defined, but added a year to the latest forecast from the ride-hailing company; Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden had said in November that a paid, intra-city flying taxi service could start in 2023.

Souza said the companies would soon determine specifications of the proposed vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Engineers are projecting one-ton vehicles transporting a pilot and four passengers at an altitude of 800-1000 metres, he said, adding that the aircraft will be powered by batteries that can charge in as little as five minutes between flights.

The project has provided an outlet for engineering resources at Embraer, whose newest planes - the KC-390 military transport, due to enter service with the Brazilian Air Force in 2018, and a new generation of passenger jets - are well into their flight testing programs.