Skyports is developing Europe’s first test vertiport in France, which represents a significant step towards launching commercial advanced air mobility services in time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The programme is part of the Re.Invent Air Mobility initiative led by French airport operator Groupe ADP, global mobility company RATP Group and Choose Paris Region, a French agency for business and innovation.
The vertiport will be designed, built, and operated by Skyports at Groupe ADP’s Cergy-Pontoise Airfield in Paris. It will initially serve as a technology testbed to provide a safe and realistic environment for Skyports and members of the initiative to integrate and test critical technologies required to enable advanced air mobility in Europe.
Ankit Dass, Chief Technology Officer at Skyports, said: “Technology will play a critical role in ensuring the safety and operational efficiency of vertiports. The integration of technology is at the core of our vertiport design, development and operation. At Skyports we are developing our systems in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers, operators and leading aviation tech companies.”
The Skyports vertiport will be constructed using modular technology so that it can easily be relocated to a new location at the end of the programme, serving as the first commercial vertiport in France.
The integration of a vertiport within an existing airport site is challenging and complex. Skyports’ expertise in ground infrastructure and Groupe ADP’s remit in infrastructure planning, provision and permitting are an ideal partnership to implement the solution that will successfully address this challenge.
The test vertiport will be equipped with a suite of technologies including biometric identity management, re-charging equipment, situational awareness capabilities and weather stations. The data collected during the testing phase will be essential for the development of AAM regulatory frameworks.
The operational testbed will be used by leading eVTOL aircraft OEMs including Airbus, eHang, Pipistrel, Vertical Aerospace and Volocopter, which will conduct test flights and demonstrations over the next three years in the run-up to the Olympics.
Augustin de Romanet, Aéroports de Paris SA – Groupe ADP Chairman and CEO, said: “Our Pontoise airfield brings together a unique ecosystem around new air mobility and the trial platform we are launching today is unprecedented in Europe. It will function as a concrete experiment to explore the field of possibilities of a decarbonised and innovative aviation, and to develop the low altitude aviation market (below 300 metres), which has been largely unexplored until now.
“In Pontoise, we will test all the components of Urban Air Mobility. Groupe ADP will fully play its role as an aggregator of activities to facilitate the surge of new uses that reconcile a smaller environmental footprint, innovation and common utility.”
Groupe ADP develops and manages airports, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget. In 2020, through its Paris Aéroport brand, the group carried 33.1 million passengers and 1.8 million metric tons of freight and mail at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, and over 96.3 million passengers in airports abroad.
Boasting an exceptional geographic location and a major catchment area, the group is pursuing its strategy of adapting and modernising its terminal facilities and upgrading quality of services.