European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is teaming up with Munich Airport International in a project to offer a full range of advanced air mobility (AAM) solutions – from electric vertical takeoff and landing craft (eVTOL) to vertiport infrastructure – to cities and regions around the globe looking to develop looming next-generation aircraft services like air taxis.
Airbus said the pair had signed a memorandum of understanding at the ILA Berlin Air Show to prepare turnkey solutions to administrations seeking to simplify adoption of AAM activity through packages combining eVTOL craft, operational, and navigation tech, and on-ground infrastructure options. Central to that offer is the CityAirbus NextGen, a four-seat plane that will be used primarily for air taxi and mid-range transport of up to 80 km.
The partnership reflects Airbus’ belief that launch of AAM services will require cities to create entirely new ecosystems capable of ensuring safe and seamless integration of eVTOL operation into their airspaces, then link those with others in surrounding areas. To facilitate that, the company recently announced the creation of the Air Mobility Initiative in the German lander of Bavaria, assembling a group of both public and private participants wanting to prepare for next-generation aircraft services.
Last month Airbus similarly joined forces with Italy’s ITA Airways to promote adoption and development of AAM services in the nation, centered on using the CityAirbus NextGen for eVTOL air taxi purposes.
“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,” said Airbus head of AAM partnerships and strategy execution, Balkiz Sarihan, in revealing the link up with Munich Airport operators. “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.”
“Munich Airport International is already collaborating with Airbus on the Air Mobility Initiative recently launched in Munich – now we are expanding that partnership globally to support select cities and regions around the world,” added Ivonne Kuger, the airport’s executive vice president corporate development. “As Europe’s first 5-star airport Munich Airport has always been at the forefront of innovation and it is crucial for airports to be actively involved in developing and paving the way for this new form of transport.”
Airbus’s piloted, three-passenger fixed-wing eVTOL is driven by eight propellers to a cruising speed of 120 km/h, and will primarily be used for urban air taxi use, or longer AAM transport between city centers and airports located beyond. By replacing combustion engines with battery power, the CityAirbus NextGen will generate just 65 dBa of noise during overhead flight, and 70 dBa during takeoff and landings. The company unveiled the most recent update of its CityAirbus NextGen prototype in September, which it believes is the version it will likely take into testing in 2023.