“Urban Blue”, a company for the international development of urban air mobility launches – sUAS News – The Business of Drones
Aeroporti di Roma, Aeroporto di Venezia, Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur and Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi di Bologna together for the building and management of vertiports
Urban Blue, a project focused on sustainable mobility set up by Aeroporti di Roma, Aeroporto di Venezia, Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur and Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi di Bologna has been launched today for the development of urban air mobility infrastructures at the international level.
The company, which will be open to new industrial, technological and financial partners for the progressive expansion of UAM in various geographic areas, in addition to Italy and France, will be concerned with studying, designing, building and managing the infrastructures – also known as vertiports – essential to allow electric vertical take-off aircraft (e-VTOL) to connect airports with built-up areas and promote intra-city mobility, promoting the decongestion of traffic in urban centres.
UAM is one of the most promising forms of innovative and sustainable mobility for the coming years.
The potential of this sector is growing strongly, with a market value for Europe estimated in more than 4,0 billion of euros by 2030. The growing public acceptance of this technology, the technological advances and ongoing regulatory changes are increasing the interest of investors in the sector.
In this context, Urban Blue intends to position itself as a leader by leveraging some distinctive elements:
It is the only player active in the UAM segment with strong integrated skills in master-planning and infrastructure management for commercial and general aviation, and helicopters;
It has a strong specific experience in UAM gained in the last two years in the context of the main Italian and European task forces, actively contributing to the designing of sector regulations and the definition of the reference business model;
It includes a portfolio of vertiportal projects with high development potential, already identified in the specific geographic areas of reference;
It has consolidated relationships with leading global e-VTOL manufacturers and operators;
It counts on an extensive network of trade and industrial relations for an international roll-out.
The company will rely on the industrial partnership started in 2020 with Volocopter, the first company in the world to develop and operate e-VTOL aircraft for the transport of passengers and goods within urban areas, with high potential as the first-mover for the reference certifications.
Furthermore, EDF Invest, shareholder of Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur, will support Urban Blue as an international player of reference in the innovative and sustainable mobility segment.
The initial network of vertiports will include the reference areas of the founding partners and maybe extend to other geographies of interest; in particular, the start of operations in Rome, Nice and Venice is currently planned by 2024.
Indeed, these urban areas have already a high market potential as world interest destinations, in addition to presenting elements particularly suitable for the first developments of this form of mobility, such as favourable weather conditions (which increases the operability of aircraft eVTOL) and flat or coastal surroundings.
In an initial phase, Urban Blue will carry out technical-economic feasibility studies and master plans, in coordination with all the stakeholders of the new ecosystem, preparatory to the authorisation phase and the subsequent construction and management of the vertiports.
“The development of Urban Air Mobility,” said Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma, “is part of our strategy of strong acceleration on innovation and sustainability and allows us to further enhance our infrastructures’ development and management skills. We are working in synergy with all the stakeholders and industrial partners to design the ground structures within the overall ecosystem, aiming at the operational start-up of this service with a challenging but possible timeline, to allow Rome
to be among the first cities in Europe to activate this kind of connection, already in 2024, before the beginning of the Jubilee ”.
“The Urban Air Mobility development project is part of our commitment to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2030, included in the roadmap delivered to ACI Europe (Airports Council International) whose general meeting, underway in Geneva today and tomorrow, deals with sustainability and innovation path of airports “- said Monica Scarpa, CEO of the SAVE Group -” The goal is to build a vertiport in the Venice airport by 2024 for vertical take-off electric vehicles, which will relieve from traffic congestion the urban areas around Venice Marco Polo airport”.
“As the laboratory for the airport of tomorrow and the leading carbon-neutral French airport group, Aéroports de la Côte d´Azur aims to amplify the effects of the energy transition of air transport and to anticipate new uses. As the manager of airports located in a landlocked territory, between sea and mountain, at the heart of urban but also industrial areas, the Group anticipates the diffusion of this new form of mobility in the short term. This is why participating in the creation and development of Urban Blue is not only part of our strategy but also of our convictions in terms of sustainable mobility,” said Franck Goldnadel, CEO of Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur.
“The Urban Air Mobility represents a stimulating challenge, capable of mobilizing new resources and skills and project ourselves into a future of innovative and sustainable mobility,” said Nazareno Ventola, CEO of Bologna Airport. “Aeroporto di Bologna SpA wants to be the protagonist of this future and the partnership that we are going to develop is an opportunity to be fully seized and exploited, in the interest of our shareholders and our stakeholders”.
“We have shown the world repeatedly that our aircraft can fly. But Urban Air Mobility can only work with the necessary ecosystem around it,” said Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter. “A renowned infrastructure partner like Aeroporti di Roma creating a company like Urban Blue that will build vertiports, the take-off and landing infrastructure, plays an integral part in bringing electric air mobility to cities. For the digital infrastructure that can orchestrate the whole ecosystem, we are also building the VoloIQ platform.”
Aeroporti di Roma, an Atlantia Group company, manages Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports and carries out other business activities that relate and add to airport management. Fiumicino has two passenger terminals and is dedicated to business and leisure customers on national, international and intercontinental routes; Ciampino is mainly used by low-cost airlines, express couriers and General Aviation activities. In 2019 ADR recorded, as an airport system, 49.4 million passengers with over 240 destinations worldwide reachable from Rome, thanks to approximately 100 airlines operating at the two airports (In 2020, following the effects caused by Covid-
19 on air transport, Fiumicino airport recorded just 9.8 million passengers while Ciampino airport ended the year with 1.6 million passengers). In 2020, the Airports Council International Europe awarded the Leonardo da Vinci airport with the “Best Airport Award 2020”. For the third year running, the Leonardo da Vinci confirmed its position as the number one European hub with over 40 million passengers. The award adds to the recognition of Airports Council International World which, in 2020, presented the Leonardo da Vinci with the “Airport Service Quality 2019” award for the third consecutive year as Europe’s most valued airport among hubs with more than 40 million passengers. ADR’s management capacity is also confirmed by the awards received during 2019 from Skytrax, the leading international rating and assessment company for the airport sector, which confirmed the 4 Skytrax stars obtained by Fiumicino in 2017.