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Airport collaboration will bring air taxis to Rome
Rome is one of the first cities in Europe to commit to UAM with Volocopter. Another, Paris, intends to operate electric air taxis at the 2024 Olympics. A group of airport companies is to develop the vertiport infrastructure.
Volocopter COO Christian Bauer and Atlantia CEO Carlo Bertazzo with Aeroporti di Roma CEO Marco Troncone.

Volocopter, Italian infrastructure holding company Atlantia and airport operator Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) are pushing for the introduction of electric air taxis to Rome. Alongside ENAC, the Italian civil aviation authority, and ENAV, Italy's air navigation service provider, the companies will raise public awareness of UAM and pave the way for the start of operations in Italy within the next two to three years. The service would connect Rome–Fiumicino International airport with other parts of Rome using vertiports and VoloCity eVTOL aircraft.

“We have proven again and again that our aircraft are flying fully-scaled,” says Volocopter CCO Christian Bauer. “Now, we are focusing on putting the UAM ecosystem in place in several cities, just like Rome, to host our fully electric mobility solutions upon certification. There could not be any better partner to bring this exciting mode of mobility to Italy than AdR, which is recognised to be one of the most innovative and sustainable airports in Europe.”

AdR CEO Marco Troncone adds: "We are proud to contribute to shaping the future in collaboration with Volocopter, one of the most advanced developers for this new type of aircraft and service: this partnership testifies to AdR's commitment towards sustainability and innovation, as well as to our will to be a pioneer in designing the smart mobility of the future upon these premises.”

Atlantia is the main shareholder of Aeroporti di Roma and Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur  and has recently invested in Volocopter. CEO Carlo Bertazzo says: “We are confident that the collaboration between AdR and Volocopter can give rise, in the short term, to important innovations from an industrial point of view. These two companies are strongly focused on the development of sustainable businesses and have a strong technical expertise. As Atlantia, we will continue to support the diffusion of urban air mobility in our international hub in Rome and in our French airport system of Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez, proud to be developing a new transport technology that we can then export to our other European airports, as well as on a global scale.”

Furthermore, Italian and French airports Aeroporti di Roma, Aeroporto di Venezia, Aeroports de la Cote d'Azur and Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi di Bologna have launched Urban Blue, a company that derives from a 2020 partnership with Volocopter and that will focus on the development of vertiports. The group believes the market value within Europe of the UAM sector could be more than four billion 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.

“We have shown the world repeatedly that our aircraft can fly. But urban air mobility can only work with the necessary ecosystem around it,” says Volocopter’s Bauer. “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.”

After feasibility studies have taken place, the group plans to build in Rome, Nice and Venice by 2024. Not only are they top destinations, but their favourable weather conditions and flat or coastal surroundings increase the operability of eVTOL aircraft.

“The development of urban air mobility is part of our strategy of strong acceleration on innovation and sustainability and allows us to further enhance our infrastructure's development and management skills,” says AdR’s Troncone. “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 within a challenging but possible timeline.”

“As a 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,” adds CEO Franck Goldnadel. “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.”

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