A collection of airports in Italy and France is collaborating to build eVTOL veliport infrastructure to accelerate the introduction of faster, carbon-free air taxi transportation between their respective city cores and passenger terminals.
Airport operators in Rome, Venice, Bologna, and Nice have announced the formation of the Urban Blue company, which will be jointly owned. It will be in charge of overseeing the development and operation of veliports for eVTOL air taxi services, which will transfer passengers between airline transport platforms and the cities they serve.
The scheme will be developed in collaboration with Volocopter, German urban air mobility (UAM) business, and will be accessible to new industrial, technology, and financial partners interested in helping to grow the program across Italy, France, and beyond.
By 2024, eVTOL shuttle services between veliports surrounding the city centers of Rome, Venice, and Nice and their airports are expected to be operational – the same year Paris aims to launch its Volocopter air taxi service in conjunction with the Summer Olympic Games. Volocopter will begin displaying one of its battery-powered aircraft at Rome’s Fiumicino airport today, as a follow-up to the debut of Urban Blue.
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Urban Blue will be backed financially by EDF Invest, a key shareholder in Nice’s Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur, as well as providing its credentials as a proven international leader in the development of innovative and sustainable UAM.
Each of the cities involved is currently a major international tourism and business travel destination, with plenty of space to grow. All, however, are already plagued by congested traffic, which acts as a stumbling block to continued visitor growth.
One option to begin resolving that scenario – and speeding commute times – would be to use eVTOL air taxis to take some of the tension out of road transportation to and from airports. By air, the 45-minute drive from central Rome to Fiumicino, for example, would be reduced to just 15 minutes.
According to the CEO of Bologna Airport, Nazareno Ventola said:
“Urban Air Travel is an exciting challenge that will require us to mobilize new resources and abilities in order to project ourselves into a future of innovative and sustainable mobility,”
“Aeroporto di Bologna SpA wants to be the driving force behind this future, and the collaboration we’re forming is an opportunity that must be completely grasped and used in the best interests of our shareholders and stakeholders.” He added.