Europe’s first ‘vertiport’ – for eVTOL air taxis – being developed in France

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Skyports, a designer, developer and operator of vertiports (landing sites for eVTOL aircraft) is developing Europe’s first test vertiport in France, as a significant step towards launching commercial Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) services in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The programme is part of the Re.Invent Air Mobility initiative led by French airport operator Groupe ADP, global mobility company RATP Group and Choose Paris Region, a French agency for business and innovation.

This is the first development of its kind in Europe and is being supported by DGAC, the French Civil Aviation Authority and EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

The vertiport will be designed, built, and operated by Skyports at Groupe ADP’s Cergy-Pontoise Airfield in Paris, initially serving as a technology testbed to provide a safe and realistic environment for Skyports and members of the initiative to integrate and test the critical technologies required to enable AAM in Europe.

The integration of a vertiport within an existing airport site is challenging and complex. Skyports’ expertise in ground infrastructure and Groupe ADP’s remit in infrastructure planning, provision and permitting are an ideal partnership to implement the solution that will successfully address this challenge.

“Our Pontoise airfield brings together a unique ecosystem around new air mobility and the trial platform we are launching today is unprecedented in Europe,” says Augustin de Romanet, Aéroports de Paris SA – Groupe ADP chairman and CEO. “It will function as a concrete experiment to explore the field of possibilities of a decarbonised and innovative aviation, and to develop the low altitude aviation market (below 300 metres), which has been largely unexplored until now. In Pontoise, we will test all the components of Urban Air Mobility. Groupe ADP will fully play its role as an aggregator of activities to facilitate the surge of new uses that reconcile a smaller environmental footprint, innovation and common utility.”

Volocopter is just one of a number of companies developing eVTOLs for urban air mobility

The test vertiport will be equipped with a suite of technologies including biometric identity management, re-charging equipment, situational awareness capabilities and weather stations. The data collected during the testing phase will be essential for the development of AAM regulatory frameworks.

Technology will play a critical role in ensuring the safety and operational efficiency of vertiports,” says Ankit Dass, CTO at Skyports. “The integration of technology is at the core of our vertiport design, development and operation. At Skyports we are developing our systems in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers, operators and leading aviation tech companies.”

The operational testbed will be used by leading eVTOL vehicle manufacturers such as Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace, Airbus, Pipistrel, eHang and others to conduct test flights and demonstrations over the next three years in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics.

The Skyports vertiport will be constructed using modular technology so that it can easily be relocated to a new location at the end of the programme, serving as the first commercial vertiport in France.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).