Volocopter, the German eVTOL multirotor manufacturer that recently started selling tickets for their first commercial flights and signed a deal with DB Schenker for the transportation of cargo, has now announced entering two separate agreements with Japan Airlines and companies in Paris around urban air mobility.
Volocopter has announced the establishment of a test area at Pontoise airfield near Paris, France. Paris Region, Groupe ADP, the owner of Parisian airports, and RATP Group, a state-owned public transport operator from Paris, are working with Volocopter to establish their VoloCity drone as the first full-scale electrical air taxi in the region. They intend to use the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity to make Paris a leader in the global market of Urban Air Mobility.
To cope with the challenges of bringing to market a new form of mobility and handle public acceptance, regulations, technology and industrialization, a test area is founded at Pontoise airfield, 35km northwest of the French capital. This way it provides a real and secure aeronautical environment in a suburban location. In the first half of 2021, arranges will be made airside and in the boarding areas inside the buildings, including parking for the aircraft and charging systems. Testing of take-off and landing and ground operations will begin in June 2021.
To facilitate an ecosystem for the industry and partners such as SMEs, start-ups, laboratories and universities, a worldwide call for expressions of interest is launched for the following components in Urban Air Mobility:
- Vehicle development for manufacturers and equipment suppliers (batteries, avionics, etc.)
- Urban infrastructure for energy companies or vertiport designers
- Operations for suppliers of intermodal solutions, maintenance, or digital platforms
- Airspace integration for suppliers of unmanned traffic management (UTM) or communication/navigation systems
- Acceptability for laboratories or research institutes dealing with social and environmental issues
Applications are open from October 1st to November 13th, and selected projects will be announced on December 18th, 2020.
The structuring and development of an Air Mobility branch on the airfield of Pontoise – Cormeilles-en-Vexin is both consistent with the Recovery Plan initiated by Paris Region, and in line with the key takeaways of Paris Region recent COP 2020 conference. It also falls within the scope and priorities of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. As a result, this event represents an invaluable opportunity to involve the entire Aviation Industry and demonstrate the unique qualities of Paris Region as an area of reference within the global Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.
– Valérie Pécresse, President of Paris Region
We are incredibly excited to be the eVTOL manufacturer of choice in the Paris region’s Urban Air Mobility project. We will open our first commercial air taxi routes in the next 2-3 years and are excited to have a potential launching partner here in Europe.
– Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter
In a separate announcement, Volocopter and Japan Airlines (JAL) announced to work closely together with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting and Japanese cities and prefectures to gauge and influence market demand and social acceptance of Urban Air Mobility. Japan Airlines Innovation Fund had already invested in Volocopter in February 2020. They hope to launch commercial use of eVTOL technology in Japan within the next 3 years. JAL says it can use its knowledge of safe aircraft operations in the development of an air mobility operation platform service. They also aim to deliver medical care in remote areas. The collaboration of the airline with an insurance expert and business development partner should make for a promising approach.