Accelerating advanced air mobility (AAM) in Italy

Carlo Tursi, CEO of UrbanV, tells International Airport Review how the vertiport developer is collaborating with its partners to bring advanced air mobility networks to fruition by the end of this year.

UrbanV is a company established by Aeroporti di Roma, SAVE Group, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur and Aeroporto di Bologna, to launch advanced air mobility (AAM) commercial networks starting from Rome, where it plans to enable the first route (Fiumicino Airport – Rome City Centre) by the end of 2024.

UrbanV’s mission is to bring air mobility to urban centres by designing and managing vertiports, the infrastructure for AAM. A new form of safe, sustainable and integrated mobility.”

The initial network of vertiports will include the reference areas of the founding partners and may be extended to other geographical areas. In fact, UrbanV is working with the other partners to develop networks of vertiports, for example in the Veneto region, together with SAVE, the management company of Marco Polo Airport (VCE) in Venice, where we foresee that it will be possible in the future to move, for example, from the airport to an island in the lagoon in a matter of minutes, or even inland, in cities such as Treviso, Verona and throughout the productive fabric of the Veneto region.

We are doing the same with Bologna Airport; we are envisioning with them a vertiport network connecting all the main points in Emilia-Romagna. In parallel, we are also working with the airports on the French Riviera; this particular tourist area already knows short-haul air mobility, namely helicopters, which will be joined by this new form of advanced zero-emission air mobility, which will make it possible, for example, to move from Nice to Monte Carlo, or from Cannes to Saint-Tropez and other parts of the Riviera.

Collaboration

UrbanV is engaging a numbers of partners and is working on an extensive network of industry and institutional players for an international roll-out, including: a partnership with Volocopter, with whom the first flight test was conducted at the Fiumicino Vertiport; agreement with Enel X Way to develop solutions for efficient charging of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) at vertiports; a partnership with SITA, aimed at defining processes to make the passenger experience at vertiports increasingly seamless and digital; agreement with Lilium to develop vertiports that can best accommodate Lilium’s eVTOLs.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ITA Airways, Enel and Airbus aims at developing the AAM ecosystem in Italy, in order to promote new disruptive technologies and the development of a sustainable transportation solution. The four parties will collaborate in the development of AAM networks where sustainable and innovative transportation services could be offered by ITA Airways through Airbus’ eVTOLs, utilising vertiports managed by UrbanV and powered by Enel X Way energy infrastructure and services.

Urban air mobility represents one of the most promising innovative, sustainable, integrated, safe and quiet forms of mobility for the coming years.”

The agreement is centred on establishing a co-operation for electric AAM. Moreover, it aims to study applicable use cases for the most strategic regions in Italy, evaluating various viable business models, introducing a plan for market sizing of urban air mobility (UAM) in Italy. To do that it is necessary to evaluate business cases for UAM in Italy, studying and defining passenger experience envisaged models in the AAM market. The agreement also aims to establish a joint roadmap for the introduction and development of UAM in Italy, contributing to a white paper focused on this subject, which will also act as a ‘call for partnership’ for other stakeholders within the urban air mobility value chain.

Reducing congestion in major cities

UrbanV’s mission is to bring air mobility to urban centres by designing and managing vertiports, the infrastructure for AAM. A new form of safe, sustainable and integrated mobility.

Congested roads and pollution are already a reality in many European cities. According to a study by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with population growth in EU cities of more than 340 million citizens by 2030, there is a risk of a further surge in traffic and pollution. In this context, authorities in the sector and in individual states are naturally looking with interest at new forms of integrated and sustainable mobility.

Urban air mobility represents one of the most promising innovative, sustainable, integrated, safe and quiet forms of mobility for the coming years. The strengths of this form of future mobility are:

  • CO2 emissions reduction
  • Decongestion of city traffic
  • Halving average travel times
  • Fast delivery times for sensitive goods (e.g., emergency medical supplies)
  • Introduction of completely new services (infrastructure inspections, support for agricultural activities).

The signing of this agreement, therefore, will accelerate the process of development of advanced air mobility in Italy, which will benefit from the multiple advantages including traffic decongestion and reduction of emissions from the use of traditional mobility.

About the author – Carlos Tursi 

Carlo Tursi is the Chief Executive Officer of UrbanV. His entire career has been dedicated to the world of innovation and start-ups and he has over 15 years of international experience in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, mainly in the sectors of mobility and venture capital.

A mechanical engineer with an MBA from MIT Sloan, Carlo began his career as a consultant at Kearney. Later, he was Director of Corporate Development for Better Place, an Israeli-American start-up focused on developing infrastructure for electric mobility. He was an Associate at Quantum Pacific, a London-based family office where he worked primarily in the automotive and energy sectors, while also contributing to the company’s venture capital activities. For almost five years he was General Manager for Italy at Uber, the largest ride-hailing company in the world. Most recently he was at TIM, the leading Italian telecommunications company, where he was Head of Business Development and CEO of TIM Ventures.

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