A consortium of urban air mobility and aviation companies has commenced work on a concept of operations for integrating air taxis and electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) into the UK’s airspace. The consortium, which is led by Eve Air Mobility, the first company to graduate from EmbraerX, will be working with the UK Civil Aviation Authority as part of its Future Air Mobility Regulatory Sandbox.
According to a Skyports press release, the project will examine how eVTOLs may operate in transporting passengers and cargo over urban and regional areas. In addition to Eve, the consortium includes international companies that span the aviation industry, including London Heathrow Airport, London City Airport, NATS, Skyports, Atech, Volocopter, and Vertical Aerospace.
David Tait, Head of Innovation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said, “The Regulatory Sandbox was established to create an environment where innovation in aviation can be explored in line with the Civil Aviation Authority’s core principles of safety, security, and consumer protection. This project was selected to join the Sandbox as it will help us to develop a strategic framework for harmonizing the low-level airspace, which will support the development of urban and regional air mobility operations across the UK.”
Initially working alongside local authorities, the consortium will explore how eVTOLs can transport passengers from London City Airport (LCY) to Heathrow Airport (LHR), with stops in between. Data from simulations will help policymakers develop community-friendly rules, mitigate community noise impacts, and draft airspace procedures for future flight tests.
According to a LInkedIn post by NATS, the air navigation service provider will develop new traffic management and airspace design concepts to enable the UAM industry to scale safely and improve mobility for communities across the UK. The results will not only provide a draft framework for future flight tests, but also highlight regulatory challenges that will help the CAA to shape future regulations.
“Today, flights between London City Airport and Heathrow Airport are limited, and the routes are designed specifically for helicopters. By collaborating with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, we aim to demonstrate to the public why regulatory support is required to build eVTOL-specific routes,” said David Rottblatt, Vice President of Business Development and leader of the Urban Air Traffic Management project for Eve. “This unprecedented consortium, consisting of some of aviation’s foremost thought leaders, will work towards preparing London, and eventually the UK, to be a viable and successful market for passenger and cargo flights using eVTOLs.”
The introduction of eVTOLs can offer greener and faster modes of transportation for passengers and cargo, improve urban and regional connectivity, create new jobs, and spur innovation. The concept of operations will help make eVTOL operations in the UK possible, allowing the industry to scale and deliver environmental and economic benefits to the UK.
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