Expressing confidence that electric air taxis will be operational by the middle of the decade, Munich Airport International (MAI) and Urban-Air Port Ltd have announced an agreement to jointly pursue the development of eVTOL ground infrastructure and airport operations.
In a press release, the companies expressed confidence that coupling MAI’s airport knowledge and operational experience with Urban-Air Port’s ground infrastructure technology and solutions would produce “a roadmap for efficient and sustainable flight operations.”
The announcement comes a month after Urban-Air Port and Hyundai announced plans to build 65 urban-air ports worldwide to meet predicted demand for drones and electric air taxis.
Urban-Air Port and Hyundai are currently partnering with the Coventry City Council and the U.K. government to launch the first Air One urban air mobility hub. Scheduled for opening in spring 2022, the Air One hub will provide command and control, charging and refueling, cargo and passenger loading, and other services for crewed aircraft and drones in an “ultra-compact, rapidly deployable, multi-functional operations hub.”
MAI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH, with project management experience in 45 countries and expertise in providing solutions for the entire airport lifecycle, seems a likely partner for Urban-Air Port’s international ambitions.
The collaboration also positions MAI to lead nationally. A position paper, published by the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) and the German Unmanned Aviation Association (VUL) in October 2020, predicted that aviation will soon “look different from what it did at the beginning of the millennium,” with eVTOL and electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) aircraft set to play a key role in moving travelers around the European Union.
“The aviation industry is constantly evolving. While urban air mobility was a vague vision just a few years ago, this trend is within reach today,” MAI managing director Dr. Ralf Gaffal stated in a press release. “We as Munich Airport International see great potential in this mode of transportation and have developed an advanced air mobility program to actively shape the future. Partnering with Urban-Air Port allows us to join forces in designing, implementing, and operating scalable and sustainable urban-air ports around the world.”
Urban-Air Port sees the collaboration with MAI as laying the foundations for a globally integrated air transport network.
“Urban-Air Port is not only working with the world’s leading developers of eVTOLs, but also developing the full ecosystem to enable air mobility to take flight by building strategic partnerships with major mobility and industry partners across the world,” said Ricky Sandhu, the company’s founder and executive chairman.
“This collaboration with Munich Airport International, the ‘5-star’ standard in airport operations, allows us to jointly develop our expertise in airport development and operations.”