The recent launch of Global Crossing Airlines Group’s new subsidiary UrbanX is part of a long-term plan to develop an electric aviation ecosystem in South Florida that will build off the expanding cargo and charter operations of GlobalX and its fleet of Airbus A320s.
Ed Wegel, GlobalX’s chief executive, told FlightGlobal on 2 December that the Miami-based company plans to operate a range of electric aircraft, thanks to its tentative orders for 200 of Eve Air Mobility’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and 50 of Eviation’s all-electric, nine-seat commuter called Alice. Both aircraft are in development and have yet to be certificated.
GlobalX is also considering a similar order for conceptual electric seaplanes or “seaglider“-type craft, though Wegel declined to identify specific developers the company is courting.
“We view it as a three-legged stool,” Wegel says. “The eVTOL’s sweet spot is 30mi, the Alice’s sweet spot is 200mi and the seaglider is going to be a little bit further than that because of the way it operates. We can provide a range of different services with all-electric aircraft to meet specific needs of the customers who fly on our A320s to Miami and Fort Lauderdale and also the Caribbean.”
UrbanX will be the operating brand for the planned fleet of Eve air taxis. The new subsidiary will handle marketing, government relations, community engagement and developing revenue streams, led by chief executive Lucy Morillo.
Morillo tells FlightGlobal that UrbanX plans to apply for a Part 135 air operator’s certificate with the Federal Aviation Administration sometime next year.
“Investments are going to be needed to create the ground and electric infrastructure for these sustainable vehicles,” she says. “I definitely know the economic landscape and the ecosystem here, the philanthropic side and the private equity side. We’re putting those skills to work for sure.”
GlobalX will operate the one-pilot, four-passenger air taxis. “GlobalX will do all the certification work,” Wegel says. “It will maintain the aircraft, it will hire the pilots and train them.” The company anticipates eventually needing to hire five pilots per eVTOL, with those entry-level positions feeding into its narrowbody operation.
Eve aims to begin delivering aircraft to customers in 2026, and GlobalX plans to launch air taxi operations in Miami the following year.
“That is assuming they can deliver on time and they get through their certification process,” Wegel says. “We have a lot of clients who come to Miami because they’re going on cruises. The eVTOL will be standing by to take some of those customers – maybe the higher-paying customers – from Miami airport or Fort Lauderdale to the cruise terminals.”
UrbanX is also exploring possible medevac and fire-rescue applications for the incoming Eve aircraft, and has already identified several routes that could connect to local trauma centres.
Plenty could interfere with the company’s plans, however, as eVTOL makers still face uncertain certification pathways and sky-high development and production costs.
Morillo acknowledges that, in Miami, local zoning laws are an obstacle, and that the city needs new infrastructure for electric aircraft to complement the Miami area’s 18 existing heliports. Parking garage rooftops and cruise ship terminals are among possible sites being considered by city and county officials.
Miami-Dade County is “very, very far along in identifying where to put vertiport infrastructure, and they’re talking to power providers”, Wegel says. He adds that GlobalX is looking at financing its own veriport facilities in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. “In areas where we would not have as many flights, we would look to share vertiports with other operators.”
Half of the eVTOLs will be deployed in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, with the remaining 100 positioned elsewhere in Florida and the Caribbean – and plenty of room to expand.
“Miami is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States,” Morillo says. “There’s a lot of movement in Miami, there’s a lot of growth in real estate. It’s becoming quite dense, so sustainability is really a priority for any company that wishes to succeed in an environment like this. We see a great opportunity.”
GlobalX also intends to operate Eviation’s electric Alice aircraft to points throughout Florida and the Caribbean.
“The Alice aircraft is important to us,” Wegel says. “Now, we can extend the charter services for our clients who fly on an A320 into Miami or Fort Lauderdale, the ability then to take them to Nassau or Bimini or Naples on electric aircraft – those destinations that may be outside the range of the eVTOL – that extends our reach and our breadth of operations.”
Morillo and Wegel say they are looking at establishing an operational base in Puerto Rico to support a potential regional network.
“Now we’re starting to look at potential for seagliders to add to UrbanX,” Wegel says. “We’re looking at potentially putting an operation in San Juan with both eVTOLs and seagliders, so that we can get over to St Bart’s and a number of other destinations within the range of that aircraft.”
For now, the company will focus on laying the groundwork for eVTOL operations in South Florida.
“We’re backed by aviation experts and we have strong community ties,” Morillo says. ”I think we have a good combination to make this a reality and change the way we live and commute in Miami-Dade and beyond.”