ACI Europe published a position paper on the topic of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in collaboration with ACI NA as the development of concepts related to UAM across the aviation business is accelerating at an extremely rapid rate.
These new types of aircraft will have a direct impact on airports, and the aviation systems a whole, which needs to be better understood and analysed. ACI is currently investigating the domain by creating channels of communication with interested parties working on the topic. The topic is vast and covers many aspects of the aviation system, making it necessary to have a clear view of ongoing activities in this domain, including noise management and community engagement amongst other challenges and benefits.
Their position paper mentions that the development of Urban Air Mobility offers many opportunities for airports, and that realisation requires rigorous and proportionate safety and security standards, enabling fair competition and natural evolution of the market. It continues arguing that, in order to seize these opportunities, it is essential that a clear regulatory framework enables the efficient, secure and competitive development of UAM. ACI Europe set out to address these concerns and put forward proposals on how these regulatory needs may be addressed in order to make UAM in the airport environment a reality.
According to the position paper, this framework and its principles should include:
• Taking a fresh approach to regulation, given the nature of UAM and eVTOLs as a new form of aviation, rather than a simple extension of existing concepts;
• Providing endorsement from local/ national authorities for airport operators that are working with stakeholders on demonstrations or test flights aiming to validate the appropriate regulatory framework and integrate UAM into airport operations.
• Ensuring that U-Space and airspace design integrate with the existing airport and ATM system without compromising safety and airport capacity;
• Addressing the form and technical requirements of the vertiport, and standardising electrical charging infrastructure; • Integrating UAM into the airport environment, underscoring the relationship with local communities through the role of UAM as a new form of connectivity and sustainable development;
• Clarifying the security requirements for UAM services, noting that this may vary depending on the business model being followed, and that flexibility is possible under the Aviation Security Regulation.
ACI EUROPE and its members stand ready to assist in this work, through provision of expertise and further input to the regulatory process. Airports look forward to seizing the historic opportunity which is presented by UAM and which will be enabled by a forward-thinking regulatory environment.