The new company ‘Urban Blue’ is launched to develop urban air mobility
Urban Blue, a company developed to focus on the expansion of sustainable mobility across the globe, has been launched to connect airports and decongest traffic in urban centres with eVTOL vertiports.
Urban Blue, a project focused on sustainable mobility set up by Aeroporti di Roma (FCO), Aeroporto di Venezia (VCE), Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur (NCE), and Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi di Bologna (BLQ), has been launched for the development of urban air mobility infrastructures at the international level.
The company, which will be open to new industrial, technological, and financial partners for the progressive expansion of UAM in various geographic areas, in addition to Italy and France, will be concerned with studying, designing, building, and managing the infrastructures, also known as vertiports, essential to allow electric vertical take-off aircraft (eVTOL) to connect airports with built-up areas and promote intra-city mobility, promoting the decongestion of traffic in urban centres.
UAM is one of the most promising forms of innovative and sustainable mobility for the coming years. The potential of this sector is growing strongly, with a market value for Europe estimated in more than €4 billion by 2030. The growing public acceptance of this technology, the technological advances and ongoing regulatory changes are increasing the interest of investors in the sector.
In this context, Urban Blue intends to position itself as a leader by leveraging some distinctive elements:
- It is the only player active in the UAM segment with strong integrated skills in master-planning and infrastructure management for commercial and general aviation, and helicopters
- It has a strong specific experience in UAM gained in the last two years in the context of the main Italian and European task forces, actively contributing to the designing of sector regulations and the definition of the reference business model
- It includes a portfolio of vertiportal projects with high development potential, already identified in the specific geographic areas of reference
- It has consolidated relationships with leading global eVTOL manufacturers and operators
- It counts on an extensive network of trade and industrial relations for an international roll-out.
The company will rely on the industrial partnership started in 2020 with Volocopter, the first company in the world to develop and operate eVTOL aircraft for the transport of passengers and goods within urban areas, with high potential as the first-mover for the reference certifications.
Furthermore, EDF Invest, shareholder of Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur, will support Urban Blue as an international player of reference in the innovative and sustainable mobility segment.
The initial network of vertiports will include the reference areas of the founding partners and may be extended to other geographies of interest; in particular, the start of operations in Rome, Nice, and Venice is currently planned by 2024.
Indeed, these urban areas have already an high market potential as world interest destinations, in addition to presenting elements particularly suitable for the first developments of this form of mobility, such as favourable weather conditions (which increases the operability of aircraft eVTOL) and flat or coastal surroundings.
In an initial phase, Urban Blue will carry out technical-economic feasibility studies and masterplans, in co-ordination with all the stakeholders of the new ecosystem, preparatory to the authorisation phase, and the subsequent construction and management of the vertiports.
Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma said: “The development of Urban Air Mobility is part of our strategy of strong acceleration on innovation and sustainability and allows us to further enhance our infrastructures’ development and management skills. We are working in synergy with all the stakeholders and industrial partners to design the ground structures within the overall ecosystem, aiming at the operational start-up of this service with a challenging but possible timeline, to allow Rome to be among the first cities in Europe to activate this kind of connections, already in 2024, before the beginning of the Jubilee.”
“The Urban Air Mobility development project is part of our commitment to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2030, included in the roadmap delivered to ACI Europe (Airports Council International) whose general meeting, underway in Geneva, deals with sustainability and innovation path of airports,” said Monica Scarpa, CEO of the SAVE Group. “The goal is to build a vertiport in the Venice airport by 2024 for vertical take-off electric vehicles, which will relieve from traffic congestion the urban areas around Venice Marco Polo airport”.
“As the laboratory for the airport of tomorrow and the leading carbon-neutral French airport group, Aéroports de la Côte d´Azur aims to amplify the effects of the energy transition of air transport and to anticipate new uses. As the manager of airports located in a landlocked territory, between sea and mountain, at the heart of urban but also industrial areas, the Group anticipates the diffusion of this new form of mobility in the short term. This is why participating in the creation and development of Urban Blue is not only part of our strategy but also of our convictions in terms of sustainable mobility,” added Franck Goldnadel, CEO of Aeroports de la Cote d’Azur.
“The Urban Air Mobility represents a stimulating challenge, capable of mobilising new resources and skills and project ourselves into a future of innovative and sustainable mobility,” commented Nazareno Ventola, CEO of Bologna Airport. “Aeroporto di Bologna SpA wants to be protagonist of this future and the partnership that we are going to develop is an opportunity to be fully seized and exploited, in the interest of our shareholders and our stakeholders”.
“We have shown the world repeatedly that our aircrafts can fly. But Urban Air Mobility can only work with the necessary ecosystem around it,” said Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter. “A renowned infrastructure partner like Aeroporti di Roma creating a company like Urban Blue that will build vertiports, the take-off and landing infrastructure, plays an integral part in bringing electric air mobility to cities. For the digital infrastructure that can orchestrate the whole ecosystem, we are also building the VoloIQ platform.”