Three Big Names Join Forces to Launch Air Taxi Operations in Spain

1 month, 2 weeks ago - 4 March 2024, autoevolution
Three Big Names Join Forces to Launch Air Taxi Operations in Spain
Vertiport operator UrbanV and eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) maker Volocoper have expanded their partnership to help launch UAM (Urban Air Mobility) operations in Spain, together with one of the biggest airport management companies.

It's always exciting to see the development process of a future electric air taxi from the initial concept phase, but there's a lot more to real-world operations than the aircraft itself. Only team effort can help establish a so-called ecosystem for future commercial air taxi services, including infrastructure, regulations, air traffic management, and airport integration.

The pilot project that aims to set up this type of ecosystem in Spain will take years to complete. The initial phase alone will unfold over two years, during which the project partners will explore things like potential vertiport locations, infrastructure requirements, and intermodal connectivity. Once this is completed, the second phase will focus particularly on the Aena facilities for future flight testing.

Aena is one of the key players in this UAM initiative, which is basically a pilot study that could become the foundation for UAM operations in Spain in the near future. It's a collaboration that brings together partners from different European countries. Aena is based in Spain, UrbanV is Italian, and Volocopter is a German eVTOL maker.

UrbanV and Volocopter have already partnered previously for a similar UAM project in Italy. UrbanV is an eVTOL infrastructure company set up by Aeroporti di Roma, SAVE Group, Aeroporto di Bologna, and Aeroports de la Cote d'Azur. It was originally established with the goal of building Europe's first official vertiport near Rome. Since then, UrbanV has also partnered with industry players such as Enel X Way (Enel's electric mobility company) and ITA Airways.

Volocopter, on the other hand, is one of the top-tier developers in the emerging electric air taxi industry. Volocity is a two-passenger air taxi boasting 18 rotors, nine rechargeable batteries, and a comfortable cabin. The aircraft's prototype, known as the Volocopter 2X, conducted its first test flight at the Italian vertiport in 2022. The same aircraft was later linked to pioneering eVTOL flights in Florida and New York. More than that, the flight that took place in Florida in November 2023 marked the first eVTOL flight in this state and the first eVTOL flight at a big international airport in the US.

UrbanV also supports future AAM operations for the electric air taxi designed and developed by Airbus. The CityAirbus NextGen boasts a four-seat configuration and claims not to be noisier than a regular vacuum cleaner.

Paris and Rome are racing toward the AAM finish line in Europe and gearing up to launch commercial air taxi services in one or two years. With this new project, Spain will also reach further on the way to electric air mobility. 

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