In the article you cite, I think "takes the skies" is a mistake, and was intended to be "takes to the skies".
"Take the skies" is correct English, but it suggests military conquest, as in "Then we take Berlin." In this sense, "take" means to take something into one's possession. You could say "take the skies" to mean achieving air superiority during a battle.
"Take to" is a distinct phrasal verb, not to be confused with "take", just as "pick up" is not to be confused with "pick". "Take to" has many senses (as most phrasal verbs do), most of which are not relevant here. I just looked at a few dictionaries and most did not even list the sense of "take to" used in "take to the skies". I (native American English speaker) understand it as a blend of the senses used in "take to the the hills" (go someplace separate from where you are now, seeking refuge—except that "take to the skies" does not imply seeking refuge), "take to the road" (start a journey), and "take to water" (find a harmonious fit between oneself and the thing one takes to). This exact sense of "take to" might occur only in "take to the skies" (or "take to the sky"), which is best understood as a fixed phrase.
From the context within the article, it appears that the authors simply meant "take flight" (which has nothing to do with conquest!).