Vertiport Testbed for European Urban Air Mobility Testing Inaugurated in Paris

November 10, 2022
  • Fully integrated European vertiport for UAM integration, testing, and development officially commissioned
  • Groupe ADP, Skyports, and Volocopter showcase end-to-end passenger journey through a vertiport, featuring crewed test flight

Paris, France, 10 November 2022 – Today, Groupe ADP, Skyports and Volocopter commissioned Europe’s first fully integrated vertiport terminal for the urban air mobility (UAM) industry at the Groupe ADP, RATP Group and Choose Paris Region-run Re.Invent Air Mobility testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles airfield. The launch of the terminal represents the start of a new era for urban air mobility, as the facility allows advanced testing of critical technology and passenger processes.

Urban air mobility is a new form of sustainable aviation with a multitude of use cases that will provide regions and cities with an alternative form of transport for people and goods. Introducing a new form of mobility successfully requires industry-wide collaboration and the support of regulators and government bodies. The UAM ecosystem includes manufacturers of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), physical and digital infrastructure providers, regulators, technology supply chain, cities, governments, the public, and many others. The fully integrated testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles enables a variety of stakeholders to test technologies and procedures in diverse configurations in a real-life environment. The opportunity to test on a live airfield is both invaluable and essential to the development of the entire industry.

The testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles, designed by Skyports in collaboration with Groupe ADP, is aircraft agnostic and offers the entire ecosystem the chance to test and develop their technologies. Most importantly, it facilitates collaboration between the key ecosystem partners, including technology pioneers, regulators and local partners such as the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), suppliers and airlines. It will enable the testing of:

    • Vehicle integration, ground movement procedures, and charging procedures
    • Flight scheduling, situational awareness, and information exchange
    • Passenger journey through the terminal, including security and check-in processes, biometric technologies (provided by SITA), passenger dwell time, and aircraft boarding.

The launch event provided an opportunity to demonstrate the end-to-end passenger journey, from arrival at the vertiport terminal to aircraft boarding. A model of the VoloCity, which is being developed as Volocopter’s first certified aircraft for commercial services, was featured at the launch in addition to a crewed test flight of the 2X model – the only aircraft currently authorised by DGAC for eVTOL test flights in France. The series of demonstrations by Skyports and Volocopter also featured displays of flight monitoring capabilities and digital operating systems, including Skyports’ vertiport operating systems and the VoloIQ.

The Re.Invent Air Mobility testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles airfield is now the most extensive technology-enabled test site for UAM in Europe. The innovation consortium is formed by Groupe ADP, Choose Paris Region, and RATP Group, and made up of 30 ecosystem partners. It has propelled France to the forefront of UAM development. The consortium focuses on a wide range of topics to facilitate the development of the industry, including vehicle development, vertiport infrastructure, airspace integration and public acceptance.

Augustin de Romanet, Groupe ADP Chairman and CEO, said: “In Pontoise-Cormeilles, we are taking a new decisive step in the development of electric air mobility. The passenger terminal marks the final stage in the development of the Pontoise testbed, and the completion of a Volocopter flight fully integrated into the airfield’s airspace is the epitome of a year of very ambitious test campaigns. We are now looking ahead to 2024: the development of all use cases, including health and logistics.”

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “The Pontoise-Cormeilles terminal is a physical demonstration of the fact that innovation won’t occur in isolation; it requires collaboration from a multitude of area experts, including operators, vehicle manufacturers, and technology developers, each of which have an important role to play in achieving the ultimate objective of commercial AAM services. With the completion of the terminal, we will now begin comprehensive testing of procedures and technologies in a realistic aviation environment, creating a space for Skyports and consortium partners to accelerate the industry.”

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter, said: “Introducing a new kind of mobility like UAM can only be done successfully with a closely knit, yet open ecosystem. The testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles is a stellar example of ecosystem partners collaborating to accelerate the realization of UAM. We can test processes, integrate new and old systems, and simulate different operational scenarios to create trust and positive awareness of all stakeholders. Together, we will succeed in providing an additional emission-free transport option for the public. Every test is one step closer to commercialization in time for 2024.”

Marie-Claude Dupuis, Strategy, Sustainable Development and Real Estate Director RATP Group, said: “This year of testing and validation has enabled us to make progress in evaluating the acceptability of these new machines and the urban insertion of vertiports. We are working together on the next steps to test the new advanced air mobility by 2024.”

Valérie Pécresse, President of the Paris Region, said: “The development of low-altitude aviation for urban air mobility is an adventure full of promises – for employment, for the environment and for the lives of Paris Region residents. As the leading aeronautical region in France and Europe, Paris Region has all the resources to be a pioneer in this field and that is why we decided last year to support this exciting initiative financially. Just as the first plane ticket of the first airline company was purchased in 1914 in Florida, I want the first passenger flight in a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft to take place in our region, Paris Region. The Olympics are an incredible opportunity to showcase and launch this project and promote the site’s experimental facilities. We will continue to support this project while remaining vigilant to ensure that the inhabitants of Paris Region benefit from it, in compliance with our decarbonization objectives, as detailed in the regional economic strategy Impact 2028.”

For press enquiries contact
Portrait photo of Helena Treeck, Head of Public Relations, Volocopter.
Helena Treeck
+49 15123721517

About Groupe ADP

Press Contact: Justine Léger, Head of Medias and Reputation Department +33 1 74 25 23 23

Investor Relations: Cécile Combeau, Eliott Roch +33 1 74 25 70 64 – invest@adp.fr

Groupe ADP develops and manages airports, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget. In 2021, the group handled through its brand Paris Aéroport more than 41.9 million passengers and 2.1 million metric tons of freight and mail at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, and more than 118.1 million passengers in airports abroad. Boasting an exceptional geographic location and a major catchment area, the Group is pursuing its strategy of adapting and modernizing its terminal facilities and upgrading quality of services; the group also intends to develop its retail and real estate businesses. In 2021, group revenue stood at €2,777 million and net income at -€248 million.

Registered office: 1, rue de France, 93 290 Tremblay-en-France. Aéroports de Paris is a public limited company (Société Anonyme) with share capital of €296,881,806. Registered in the Bobigny Trade and Company Register under no. 552 016 628.

Find out more at www.groupeadp.fr and on twitter: @GroupeADP

About RATP Group

Press contact: Maria Mellouli, +33 (0)1 58 78 37 37 – maria.mellouli@ratp.fr / servicedepresse@ratp.fr

With 16 million trips daily worldwide, RATP Group is one of the largest urban transport operators in the world. Through its subsidiary RATP DEV, the Group operates in 13 countries on 4 continents, where it provides everyday mobility services across 8 transport modes: metro, urban and intercity buses, trams, rail, sightseeing services, cable cars, maritime shuttles, and transport on demand. The Group also has a strong presence in new forms of mobility, in partnership with other modes (free-floating electric scooters, car-sharing, carpooling and autonomous shuttles, smart car parks). The Group leverages its recognised expertise in infrastructure management and engineering to provide, via its subsidiaries, a wide range of urban services from engineering and managing real estate and retail areas, to delivering fibre networks, tailor-made passenger information and innovative ticketing solutions.

For over 70 years, RATP has operated one of the world’s densest multimodal networks in Île-de-France. RATP Group’s 69,000 employees worldwide design, implement and bring to life mobility solutions and innovative services to make the city more sustainable and more human.

Find out more at www.ratp.fr/groupe-ratp and on twitter @RATPGroup

About Paris Ile-de-France Region

Press contact: Eléonore Flaceliere, +33 6 64 82 77 04 – eleonore.flaceliere@iledefrance.fr

Paris Region is a driving force for French employment and growth, both in terms of its economic weight and its influence. As the leading economic region in Europe and the third-largest urban economy in the world, behind Tokyo and New York, Paris Region is a hotbed for innovation due to its concentration of 40% of France’s R&D activities. By and large, Paris Region benefits from a great international appeal.

Paris Region is active in most of the areas that affect the daily lives of its 12 million residents: transport, education, economic development, environment, etc. In an area that covers only 2% of France but is home to 18% of the country’s population and nearly 30% of the national GDP, Paris Region is implementing a development policy which places the environment at the heart of its priorities. It is investing 10 billion euros towards it. The launch of an innovative aeronautics industry in Paris region is therefore fully in line with its policy in terms of attractiveness and economic development.

Find out more at www.iledefrance.fr and on twitter @iledefrance

About Skyports

Press contact: Maggie Mullan, PR and Communications Manager, +44 (0) 7577 744 037 – maggie.mullan@skyports.net

Skyports is the leading enabler of advanced air mobility (AAM), providing the critical link between the ground and the sky. The company designs, builds and operates take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis, and partners with world-class electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers around the world to enable safe, sustainable, and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments. Skyports also fly drones as a service, committed to creating positive change by connecting people, businesses and communities to vital supplies and services, such as healthcare, maritime, logistics and e-commerce.

Based in London, United Kingdom, Skyports has projects operating in multiple continents, including in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, Middle East and North America. Skyports investors include Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Irelandia Aviation, Levitate Capital, Solar Ventus, The Goodman Group, Kanematsu Group, Ardian, F2i and Greenpoint.

Find out more at www.skyports.net and on twitter @Skyports_Infra

About Volocopter GmbH

Press contact: Helena Treeck, +49 151 2372-1517 – helena.treeck@volocopter.com

Volocopter brings urban air mobility (UAM) to megacities worldwide. We aim to improve quality of life for people in cities by offering a fantastic new mode of transportation. To this end, we create sustainable and scalable UAM ecosystems with partners in infrastructure and operations.

Volocopter’s family of eVTOL aircraft will offer passengers (VoloCity and VoloRegion) and goods (VoloDrone) swift, secure, and emission-free connections to their destinations, supported by VoloIQ, the UAM ecosystem’s software platform that serves as its digital backbone for safe and efficient operations.

As a pioneer in the UAM industry, Volocopter will launch commercial services within the next few years. Founded in 2011, the company employs more than 500 people in Germany and Singapore, has completed over 1,500 successful public and private test flights, and has diverse investors, including Geely, NEOM, Mercedes-Benz Group, Intel Capital, and BlackRock.

Find out more at www.volocopter.com and on twitter @Volocopter

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