Groupe ADP and Skyports unveil the passenger terminal testbed for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) at Pontoise-Cormeilles airfield, with the support of RATP Group, Paris-Région and -the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAG) depending on the French Ministry of Transports.
The vertiport at Pontoise, one of a kind in Europe, brings together key technical components for future electric aircrafts including: take-off and landing areas, passenger terminal, maintenance hangar and control areas.
The full passenger journey, as close as possible to the configuration expected in 2024, can now be tested: from accessing the terminal, to the control formalities based on biometrics technologies (developped by SITA), to boarding the aircraft.
Volocopter has carried out a flight integrated into conventional air traffic.
First passenger terminal of a vertiport in Europe
Designed and developed by Skyports and Groupe ADP, the new passenger terminal will be used as a testbed to prepare the experimentation planned for 2024 and the upcoming launch of passenger services, for:
– passenger journey: security and check-in processes, passenger dwell time, and aircraft boarding;
– vehicle integration, ground movement procedures, and charging operations;
– flight scheduling and passenger information.
This passenger terminal demonstrates first-hand Skyports safety and regulatory compliant, efficiency-led, and functional approach to AAM infrastructure development. At 115 sq.m, the size of the vertiport terminal has been carefully considered to provide ample space to ensure a comfortable passenger experience with fast throughput, while taking up a small-as-possible footprint. The modular design allows for a fast and easy build, creates less construction waste, and provides in-built flexibility. This terminal was designed and constructed by local companies using, where possible, locally sourced materials.
The inauguration event, which marks the culmination of 12 months of testing campaigns at Pontoise airfield was completed with live test flight by Volocopter integrated into conventional airspace, in cohabitation with another aircraft, demonstrating the interaction between ground infrastructure and eVTOL aircraft.
Since its formation in 2020, the AAM Paris branch is formed 30 industrial, academic or legal partners to meet all the challenges: vehicle development, operations, infrastructure, airspace management, and public acceptance spaces. Regarding eVTOL companies (in addition to Volocopter, Airbus, Ascendance Flight Technologies, Lilium, Joby Aviation, Vertical Aerospace) Eve Air Mobility, a dedicated subsidiary of Embraer, has recently joined the project.
2023 goal: develop uses and implement five additional vertiports by 2024
The Pontoise testbed will be instrumental to ease news potential use cases, including logistics, surveillance and maintenance monitoring, sanitary and medical.
In the medical field, ADP and RATP groups are working with the AP-HP (public assistance hospitals of paris) to evaluate the conditions for a demonstration in a real environment as early as 2024, with the use of light aircraft to meet three transport needs: the transport of biological material, light injuries, or specialized doctors, from Paris-Le Bourget, a major health airport for the Paris region.
The skills developed at Pontoise will directly serve to settle several vertiports throughout the Paris region, in order to meet the 2024 deadline by offering two lines with passengers between:
– Paris and Versailles (between Paris-Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport and Saint-Cyr l’École airfield) ;
– Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Le Bourget Airports, and a location in Paris at Quai Austerlitz (barge project on the Seine river bank).
Administrative procedures are underway for the establishment of these five vertiports. For its part, Volocopter – whose 2X model is so far the only aircraft authorized by the DGAC for test flights at the Pontoise airfield – is in the process of obtaining European certification, which will enable it to fly at all the above-mentioned vertiports.
Thus, by 2024, the planned experimentation will be based on:
– a fleet of about ten VoloCity (Volocopter aircraft) ready for deployment;
– each aircraft will be able to perform 2-3 flights per hour.