AAM: More than new aircraft

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) covers more than the development of new aircraft. Taking part in a debate at ILA Berlin, experts examined what kind of infrastructure climate-neutral aircraft would require and how it could be integrated in cities.

Achieving climate-neutral aviation with alternative propulsion systems requires more than innovative aircraft. A corresponding infrastructure is needed too. Experts exchanged their views on this topic at ILA Berlin. In that context, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) presented an extract of its new regulations for vertiports. These are landing pads for flying taxis, which subject to precautions could conceivably be installed in cities. The fact that these electric vehicles are low-noise would be a big advantage for inner-city use.

The aircraft manufacturer Airbus is working on several electrically powered models, including the experimental Vahana, which can fly unmanned, as well as the CityAirbus. To make sure they can be used in the future the aircraft manufacturer is also working on a landing pad infrastructure. Here it would be important to cluster vertiports, as the company has demonstrated in the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paolo.

Use of existing airfields

As a company developing electrically powered aircraft, Lilium is also designing a corresponding infrastructure. Its low-noise, eco-friendly jets can be used for both passenger and goods transport. According to Marvin König, Government Relations and Public Affairs manager, Europe Markets, one take-off/landing option would be to build commercial vertiports. Upgrades to existing airfields were a good idea, along with landing pads on private or company premises. Lilium is in close contact with large airports.

In her presentation, Ivonne Kuger, VP Corporate Development, Munich Airport International, showed how vertiports could be integrated in a major airport. An eco-system comprising startups, universities and technology companies has made Bavaria an important hub for AAM. One could imagine integrating vertiports at various locations on the airport grounds, providing they did not interfere with flight operations.