Kittyhawk, Google Co-Founder Larry Page’s Air Taxi Startup, Is Winding Down

Kittyhawk, a startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page that was working on developing air taxis, said it is winding down its business.

“We’re still working on the details of what’s next,” the company said Wednesday in a two-sentence post on LinkedIn.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Google didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment on behalf of Mr. Page, who sits on the board of Google’s parent company

Alphabet Inc.

Kittyhawk’s closing marks an exit from a crowded industry. A large number of companies, both startups and legacy aviation firms, have been working on air taxis, or eVTOLs (short for electric vertical take off and landing). A handful have gone public. One major issue is there aren’t enough places for these vehicles to take off and land. Integrating them into existing air-traffic control systems has also been a challenge. 

Kittyhawk, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded in 2010 by

Sebastian Thrun.

In 2019, Kittyhawk announced a strategic partnership with

Boeing Co.

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A Boeing spokeswoman said Kittyhawk’s decision to cease operations wouldn’t affect its commitment to Wisk Aero, a joint venture to develop a flying taxi. She declined to specify how much of a stake Boeing has in the Wisk venture. 

“We do not expect Kittyhawk’s announcement to affect Wisk’s operations or other activities in any way,” she said.

In a statement, Wisk said it remains in a strong financial position, with both Boeing and Kittyhawk as investors.

Boeing and Wisk earlier this week had detailed a plan to get automated and uncrewed aircraft to transport passengers and cargo around cities.

In January, Boeing said it was investing $450 million in Wisk.  

At an aerospace event in Washington, D.C., last week, Boeing CEO

David Calhoun

said the plane maker looked forward to bringing Wisk’s flying taxi to market. 

“It will displace its alternative, which is a very loud and not emission-friendly alternative called a helicopter,” Mr. Calhoun said. 

Others are also making moves in the market.

United Airlines Holdings Inc.

recently invested $15 million in a flying taxi company called Eve Air Mobility. The company is backed by

Embraer SA,

the Brazilian plane manufacturer.

American Airlines Group Inc.

last year said it planned to invest $25 million in

Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd.

, a U.K.-based startup. 

The U.S. Air Force has also been involved with developing flying taxis for military use

Kittyhawk says on its LinkedIn page that the company has flown and made over 100 aircraft.

Write to Allison Prang at and Andrew Tangel at

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Appeared in the September 22, 2022, print edition as ‘Kittyhawk Air Taxis to Close Down.’

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