The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published results of the first study conducted in the EU on Urban Air Mobility, which shows 83 per cent of respondents have a positive initial attitude and 71 per cent are ready to try out services.

The comprehensive study, which was done with consulting firm McKinsey and Company, was based on targeted research, a literature review, market analysis, surveys and interviews. The online quantitative survey polled 4,000 residents living in six European urban areas, which was complemented by more than 40 qualitative interviews as well as a noise simulation test.

Cities chosen for the online survey were Barcelona, Budapest, Hamburg, Milan, Öresund (Danish-Swedish cross-border area) and Paris, with a minimum of 600 people from each location invited to respond. These cities were selected via a standard market analysis and the survey recipients selected to be representative of a cross-section of the local population of each city.

Patrick Ky, EASA’s Executive Director, said: “As a result of this study, for the first time, EASA and the EU have insights into what the general public in Europe thinks about this entirely new development in the field of aviation. For EASA as a regulator this information is crucial. It will allow us to set up the rules and regulations for this area in a way that is aligned with the expectations and perceptions of citizens.

“The fact that the results were homogeneous across the various cities is a good starting point, given that we are looking to create a single regulatory playing field at EU level.”

EASA also published the top ten key survey results:

  • There is a positive attitude towards urban air mobility. Sixty four per cent of respondents were ready to try out drones, with 49 per cent ready to try out air taxis
  • Emergency or medical use cases received the greatest public interest. The top three were transporting an injured person to hospital (41 per cent), drone delivery of medical supplies to hospitals (41 per cent) and transport of emergency medical personnel (36 per cent)
  • Top three expected benefits were improved response time in emergencies (71 per cent), reduction of traffic jams (51 per cent), reduction of local emissions (48 per cent) and development of local area (41 per cent)
  • When it came to concerns with air taxis, both environment and noise were most popular (38 per cent). Other factors included safety (38 per cent) and security (27 per cent). For drones, safety was the highest (44 per cent)
  • Most concerns came from the negative impact on wildlife, noise pollution and the environmental and climate impact from production, including batteries
  • Respondents expect operations to be as safe as current aviation. Concerns increase with the age
  • Respondents said familiar city sounds at the same decibels are better accepted
  • Level of trust on security and cyber security of UAM technology is slightly above 50 per cent. Half of the respondents would better trust UAM if security and cyber security regulations were adopted by all levels of European authorities working together
  • Vertiports need to be integrated within the local mobility network. Drone deliveries preferred close to the house, while concerns of noise, safety and visual impact need to be addressed
  • There was an expectation by respondents that similar trust levels towards local, regional, national and European authorities to address UAM

EASA will use the study results to prepare an impact assessment and regulatory proposal for Urban Air Mobility in Europe in 2022. 

More details on the study and its results, including a breakdown of the results per city and an overview of the top findings can be found on the EASA website (www.easa.europa.eu/UAM). 

A video of the press briefing with EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky is below, where he goes through the published study and participates in Q&A.