First Vertiport in Italy Deployed at Fiumicino Airport
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby
This morning, Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), Volocopter, UrbanV, and Atlantia completed Italy’s first crewed eVTOL public test flight during the presentation of the country’s first advanced air mobility (AAM) testing vertiport.
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A year prior, the first eVTOL prototype was displayed in Italy. Since that initial showcase, major advancements have been made in flight technology, vertiport design, and the necessary regulations to allow the first AAM services between Fiumicino Airport and the city of Rome in 2024.
Volocopter’s test pilot flew the electric Volocopter 2X for 5 minutes at 40 km/h while 40 meters in the air, maneuvering in a figure 8 pattern. The test flight had secured all the required clearances from Italian authorities, the civil aviation authority (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile – ENAC), and the provider of air traffic control services (Ente Nazionale Assistenza al Volo – ENAV). Developed for rapid, emission-free passenger flights within urban environments, Volocopter’s electric air taxi reflects Atlantia’s and Aeroporti di Roma’s goal of making the future of aviation more innovative and sustainable.
After the test flight, UrbanV hosted a vertiport demonstration. Built in compliance with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) “Prototype Technical Specifications for the Design of VFR Vertiports for Operation with Manned VTOL-Capable Aircraft Certified in the Enhanced Category,” the vertiport occupies the regulatory sandbox approved by ENAC. Made to host a variety of tests for flight and ground operations, it includes an electric system for testing a range of eVTOL charging technologies. Taking up approximately 5,500 square meters, the vertiport’s infrastructure was sized to guarantee compatibility with the primary eVTOLs to be certified in the coming years. It features a final approach and takeoff area (FATO) for landing and takeoff operations, a parking area, a covered hangar measuring 20 x 20 x 6 meters, and several rooms, including an office, a warehouse, and a battery charging area.
Also on display was VoloIQ, the digital platform serving as the cornerstone of the urban air mobility ecosystem. VoloIQ manages a range of operations, from flight operations to booking and beyond, and will be assisting the scaling of UAM/AAM operations in cities worldwide in conjunction with the physical infrastructure (vertiports) and digital ecosystem.
“One of the pillars of Atlantia’s new industrial strategy is investment in technology and innovation to make our assets increasingly sustainable and to open up new forms of integrated mobility,” said Atlantia Chairman Giampiero Massolo. “We are pleased to have helped to bring together a number of companies in which we are shareholders. By working together and contributing to a range of different expertise and areas of excellence, we are creating a new kind of sustainable mobility that did not exist until a few months ago. By collaborating with the related institutions, we aim to open up the service to the public at Fiumicino, before extending it to the other airports in which we have invested by 2024”.
“Today’s event represents a significant milestone in our path as pioneers in testing and implementing Advanced Air Mobility in Italy, and in playing our part in making urban transports increasingly sustainable and seamless,” said Aeroporti di Roma CEO Marco Troncone. “The opening of the first vertiport in Italy and the first crewed eVTOL flight represent a remarkable step towards the activation of the first AAM routes between Fiumicino airport and Rome city centre by the end of 2024, ahead of the Jubilee, to offer our contribution to our city and our institutions in welcoming the international tourist flows with a ground-breaking, innovative service.”
“We’ve come from a signed partnership agreement and event series kickoff to a flight test at an operational airport in a little less than a year,” said Volocopter CFO and Interim CFO Christian Bauer “With that, we are bringing together all the key stakeholders and regulators to witness this mobility service and technology with their own eyes.”
“This test vertiport is particularly significant for UrbanV, representing our first step towards establishing a network of vertiports in the Rome region,” added UrbanV CEO Carlo Tursi. “In close synergy with all of our partners in this new mobility ecosystem, we are making progress towards positioning Rome as one of the first European cities to offer seamless connections with electric aircraft, leveraging the expertise we have developed in designing and building ground infrastructure for advanced air mobility.”
Recently, a series of studies by EASA and the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility found that the expected market size of UAM in Europe – including R&D, vehicle manufacturing, operations, and infrastructure construction – will be roughly €4.2 billion by 2030, with the potential to generate or maintain about 90,000 jobs by the same year (excluding manufacturing jobs). Additionally, the study ranked Rome as one of Italy’s most suitable cities for the implementation of UAM/AAM services.
The event’s second day will continue with a deeper exploration of market perspectives for economic stakeholders, AAM ecosystem components, the regulatory framework necessary for the sector’s launch, and the chance for additional partners to come on board. By gathering these decision-making groups in one location, Atlantia, ADR, Volocopter, and UrbanV are laying the groundwork for the necessary collaborations and flight campaigns for a successful UAM launch within the next three years.
Read more about Volocopter and Vertiports:
- Volocopter Opens First VoloCity Exhibition: Air Taxis of the Future
- VoloConnect First Flight: Volocopter eVTOL Travels Further and Faster
- VoloIQ Aerospace Cloud Project: Volocopter and Microsoft Collaborate
- When Will We See Passenger Drones? Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter from Amsterdam Drone Week
- Volocopter Raises $170 Million in Series E Funding, Following $200 Million Last Year
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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