Uber reportedly wants to sell off part of its air taxi unit, casting doubt on the company’s plans for flying vehicles in Australia

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  • There’s uncertainty about the future of Uber’s air taxi plans in Australia as the company reportedly looks to sell off parts of its Elevate unit.
  • On Friday, Axios reported that the company was looking for “strategic alternatives” in its pursuit of profitability.
  • In 2019, Uber announced that Melbourne was going to be its first air travel market outside of the U.S., but plans to test their vehicles have been delayed due to COVID.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Uber is planning to sell off its futuristic Air passenger service, according to a new report, potentially raising doubt about the future of the initiative in Australia.

On Friday, the American news site Axios reported that Uber is seeking “strategic alternatives” for its Elevate business, the company’s project to build a flying taxi service for consumers.

Citing multiple sources, the outlet said that these alternatives could be a partial sale or a strategic partnership with another business.

“This reflects Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s obsession with achieving profitability, as evidenced by partial sales of Uber’s money-losing freight and self-driving units. A company spokesman declined comment,” the Axios report reads.

After having taken on traditional taxi services and expanding into bikes, scooters and other forms of transport, Uber is setting its sights on aerial ride-sharing in the future.

The Uber Air team are working on launching in a handful of cities around the world, promising to reduce road congestion and save time for customers.

“Imagine soaring above congested ground traffic,” the company’s Elevate website reads. “With Uber, this future is closer than you think. Uber is developing shared air transporting — planned for 2023 — between suburbs and cities and ultimately within cities.”

The company says it is developing a network of electric “small, vertical take off and landing” vehicles for this purpose.

Midway through last year, Uber announced that Melbourne would be it’s first air travel market outside of the United States.

Originally planning to start test flights this year with a view to launch commercial operations in 2023, the company postponed its plans amid the COVID-19 restrictions on travel and mass gatherings.

With a potential sale on the cards, it’s unclear how any change in ownership would affect the company’s plans to run air taxis in Australia.

Uber Australia has been contacted for comment.