Former Airbus boss joins flying taxi startup Lilium

Jan 11 (Reuters) - The former head of European planemaker Airbus, Tom Enders, is joining the board of flying taxi startup Lilium.

Announcing the move on Monday, Enders, who championed urban mobility when serving as chief executive of Airbus until 2019, dismissed doubters of the business potential of the technology that combines electric propulsion and advanced computing.

“This is a rocky and by no means risk-free road,” Enders said in a blog post.

“But how are we going to move aviation forward if not with fresh ideas and courageous young entrepreneurs? The history of aviation is full of so-called experts and doubters who declared back then that everything that we see flying today would be impossible or impractical.”

Munich-based Lilium said in November that it would set up its first U.S. hub near Orlando, putting more than 20 million Floridians within range of the winged electric aircraft that can take off vertically and cover 300 km (185 miles).

The hub, due to start operations in 2025, would be Lilium’s second after a similar Vertiport planned in Duesseldorf, capital of Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Startups are racing to develop, certify and manufacture electric aircraft in a bid to revolutionise short-range travel. (Reporting by Tim Hepher and Douglas Busvine Editing by David Goodman )