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Paris Region: On the Road to Becoming a Leader in Urban Air Mobility


Paris region, Groupe ADP and RATP Groupe announced on September 30 the structuring of an Urban Air Mobility industry branch. The announcement was made at the Pontoise Airfield, set to become a Paris Region’s main testing area for urban air mobility players developing electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL). The prospect of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games provides an exceptional opportunity to involve an entire industry, promote an industry that is respectful of the environment and make Paris Region a leader in the global market of the Urban Air Mobility offer. Volocopter GmbH will be the first in line to test its flights and pave the way for air taxis in Europe for the 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games in Paris Region.

In the current context of environmental transition in air transport and economic recovery, Paris region, Groupe ADP and RATP Group aim to develop an urban air mobility industry branch, with a focus on the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL).

The partners have therefore decided to bring together all the conditions to make the emergence of this new mode of transport possible to complement the existing modes, whether for the public or for goods. Furthermore, the prospect of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games provides an exceptional opportunity to involve an entire industry in order to make Paris Region a leader in the global market of urban air mobility. Volocopter, the electric air taxi company and pioneer of Urban Air Mobility, reinforces the project’s feasibility by bringing its 9 years of aviation experience to the initiative.

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

A life-size test area in Pontoise

Facing the challenges raised by this new form of mobility in terms of use, acceptability, regulations, technologies and industrialization, the chosen approach is to offer a unique test area at the Pontoise airfield, profiting from a real and secure aeronautical environment, in a peri-urban location, 35 km northwest of Paris. In the first half of 2021, necessary arrangements will be made, first on the airside, then on the boarding areas inside the buildings (suitable parking areas, electrical recharging systems, ground markings). With the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and Eurocontrol, European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, parking, takeoff and landing operations as well as operations around the vehicle, whether maintenance or electrical recharging, will be tested in a real aeronautical environment in June 2021.

Launch of an international call for expressions of interest

In addition, in order to construct an ecosystem of large groups, SMEs, start-ups, laboratories and universities in the Paris Region over the long term, a worldwide call for expressions of interest has been launched, with the support of the Choose Paris Region agency. Applications will be open from 1 October, until 13 November 2020, under the following link, and the selected projects will be announced on 18 December 2020.

It covers all the components of 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.

Volocopter, with its track record of successful public flights in Singapore, Helsinki, and Dubai, is the first industrial player to position itself as a partner.

Catherine Guillouard, Chairwoman and CEO of RATP Group, and Valérie Pécresse, President of Paris Region

The structuring of an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry around the vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is vital for the attractiveness of Paris Region. The growth of this industry will contribute to the development of environmentally friendly industrial solutions and offer Paris Region a unique mix of urban multimodal transportation systems. Choose Paris Region will lead the Call for Interest by capitalizing on its technological expertise and international network to identify French and international companies that will be involved in the launch of this cutting-edge sector.

Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region

Today, we aim at exploring and enabling the development of all potential futures of a decarbonized and innovative aviation. Urban Air Mobility, driven by an all-electric vehicle capable of a vertical takeoff and landing, will be able to take-off and accelerate its development through the establishment of a sandbox at our Pontoise airfield, a unique testing opportunity in Europe. In partnership with Paris Region and RATP group, and in the framework of an international call for expression of interest, we are strongly positioned to federate a unique ecosystem in Paris Region, by combining our infrastructures assets, our know-how and expertise in terms of mobility and our territorial anchoring.

Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP

After a first major partnership with Airbus, it is only natural that RATP Group pursue its ambitions in the air taxi sector towards a new phase, accelerating the rollout of the urban air mobility industry branch. For RATP Group, this new mobility actively complements our traditional transport modes. By inaugurating this trial area and launching this call for expressions of interest at an international scale alongside Groupe ADP and with the support of the Île-de-France Region, we intend to be a privileged partner of the smart cities of tomorrow and make good use of our human and technical expertise.

Catherine Guillouard, Chairwoman and CEO of RATP Group

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 Volocopter

Choose Paris Experts

Romain Erny

Aerospace & Mobility
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