Airbus is expanding its partnership with Munich Airport for its futuristic electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which will see the project reach a wider consumer base around the world. The European aircraft manufacturer is in the developing stages of its electric air taxi and wants to develop a global ecosystem that can seamlessly accommodate its eVTOL product.
Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the ILA Berlin Air Show with Munich Airport International (MAI) to focus on coming up with solutions that can be pitched to cities and regions interested in developing advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystems globally.
The planemaker is developing its eVTOL aircraft, CityAirbus NextGen, and is in the process of building key support and services offerings around it. Munich Airport is also collaborating on the project by offering ground infrastructure services and solutions. Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Partnerships and Strategy Execution at Airbus, commented,
“The development of the market, industry, and the ultimate service of AAM requires a holistic view and this has been our approach from the beginning. In addition to our decades of vehicle and technology development, certification, and support, we are actively building working ecosystems with our partners.”
“We are sure that our partnership with Munich Airport will be a key catalyst for accelerating the development of the AAM ecosystems worldwide.”
Airbus’ partnership with Munich Airport aims to create entirely new ecosystems that will ensure safe and seamless integration of eVTOL solutions with other means of mobility, bringing added value to cities and communities.
The aircraft manufacturer has looked towards Germany, in particular, for urban air mobility development, bringing together leading companies, universities, research institutions, and municipalities in the country under the Air Mobility Initiative (AMI).
The AMI will set up several research projects to make urban air mobility both within and between cities a reality. They will center around three areas: eVTOL aircraft, unmanned traffic management (UTM) services, and airport and city integration, including vertiports.
The planemaker is pinning tremendous hopes on this project. CityAirbus NextGen is currently being designed, and its first flight is targeted for 2023. Additionally, certification is expected to take place in approximately four years.
Designed to transport four passengers with zero emissions, the aircraft is set to connect the public to their destinations within a range of up to 80 km (43 NM) and will reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
The next-generation air taxis have piqued the interest of several aerospace companies for future applications. In April, ITA Airways and Airbus announced their intent to collaborate on developing urban air mobility (UAM) in Italy.
Other aircraft manufacturers have also jumped into the fray with many potential customers. In April, Dubai-based Falcon Aviation signed a letter of intent for up to 35 Embraer EVE eVTOL air taxis, with deliveries beginning in four years. Kenya Airways subsidiary Fahari Aviation has also made a similar deal with Embraer for up to 40 eVTOLs, with deliveries to commence in 2026.
Even India wants a slice of the pie, with its aviation ministry keen on inviting eVTOL companies to set up facilities in the country.