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Volocopter develops UAM pilot project in Spain
The first two years will study feasibility of UAM use within the Aena network, and the next step will be to evaluate the possibility of conducting flight tests on Aena facilities in order to proof the CONOPS.

Airport management company Aena, Italy-based vertiport operator UrbanV and Volocopter are to launch a pilot programme for a UAM ecosystem consisting of a feasibility study for the deployment of UAM and a potential proof of concept of commercial operations (CONOPS) of a vertiport at an airport within the Aena flight network.

The pilot programme will progress in two steps: The first two years will focus on a feasibility study of UAM use within the Aena network, identifying potential customers, vertiport locations and commercial routes, infrastructure needs and possible connections with other modes of transport. The next step will be to evaluate the possibility of conducting flight tests on Aena facilities (subject to funding, availability of resources, permits to fly etc) in order to proof the concept of operations. Based on this pilot study, the partnership aims to assess the next steps and possible future lines of collaboration in the UAM business in Spain. Future lines of work will be subject to strict assessment of the results of the pilot and the strategic alignment of each of the parties.

There is no shortcut to building an efficient and sustainable UAM ecosystem into a new region. It involves understanding the market potential, identifying passenger-frequented routes, planning vertiport locations and involving additional partners such as CAAs and municipalities. Aena, UrbanV and Volocopter have the expertise in their respective parts of the aviation industry to embark on the creation of an efficient UAM ecosystem in Spain and beyond.

UrbanV and Volocopter have already partnered for the 2024 Italian UAM market launch in Rome and are now looking to strengthen their collaboration in Spain. With Aena, a CONOPS of use cases at target locations will be created as a blueprint to later aid global commercial expansion.

Spain is accelerating its decarbonisation efforts to target net-zero by 2050, mostly through electrification, green hydrogen and biofuels. Aena is 10 years ahead of schedule by committing to be net-zero by 2040. eVTOL aircraft can play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions in urban and remote locations in the immediate future. With no emissions in flight, an ultra-low noise signature and compliant to the highest safety standards in aviation, Volocopter's eVTOLs have the potential to revolutionise the future of aviation and make a significant impact on cities across Spain.

Luis Cañon, Aena director of innovation and customer experience, says: "Aena's innovation and digital transformation is based on using technology to improve current and develop new businesses. We want to be international leaders in the use of digital tools with the objective of optimising the client experience, increasing operational efficiency, being more sustainable and developing new businesses around sustainable mobility. This project is part of the company's global strategy in urban air mobility and the validation of new technologies and processes in Aena's airport network."

UrbanV CEO Carlo Tursi adds: "At UrbanV, we aim to improve people's lives by enabling a fast, efficient, safe and clean alternative to existing transport solutions for people and goods over short distances, by air. We have the ambition to become a major global operator of vertiport networks, and we will be global pioneers in establishing some of the first AAM routes worldwide. We are excited to partner with AENA and Volocopter, two world leaders in their respective fields, and we look forward to exploring together with them the great potential of introducing advanced air mobility in the Spanish market."

Christian Bauer, CFO and CCO of Volocopter, added: “Volocopter's mission to bring UAM to life now extends to Spain. We are proud to join its path to transforming the sustainability of aviation also in Spain as our eVTOLs provide a more efficient, safe, and quiet form of complementary aerial mobility for tourists and business travellers. For Volocopter, this pilot programme is another fantastic opportunity to understand real-world needs and use cases of eVTOL, and to strengthen our partner ecosystem with Aena and UrbanV.”

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