by Kevin Rozario (London, United Kingdom)
ACI is laying the groundwork for safely integrating eVTOL aircraft into existing airport operations while also looking at the threat that drones can pose.
“Seamless integration” is what airports group Airports Council International (ACI) is advocating when it comes to the fast-developing advanced air mobility (AAM) market.
Today, ACI launched its first policy brief on AAM at a time when development of electric and hybrid aircraft for urban, suburban, and rural operations for passengers and cargo is quickening. Vertiport concepts are already well advanced in the UK and the United States.
The policy brief*, Advanced Air Mobility: Integration into the Airport Environment, sets out ACI’s positions and key policy statements on the integration of AAM into the airport environment. At the same time, the association has announced a ‘knowledge centre’ on drone risk mitigation to promote safe and secure operations.
AAM includes electric-powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which could be piloted, piloted remotely, or even operate autonomously in the future.
The exponential growth of this market – and the opportunities and challenges that this segment of air activity will bring – means that airport operators have to consider the potential impacts these new operations on them in the coming years.
Market and Regulatory Developments
Expected market and regulatory developments are covered in the policy brief as well as considerations for airport operators and policy makers in the areas of safety and security, master planning, sustainability and public acceptance, revenue generation, unmanned traffic management, cargo operations, and customer experience.
“While advanced air mobility concepts present exciting opportunities for low, or zero, emission operations, smarter use of urban infrastructure, and potential reduction in urban congestion, they equally create a number of new challenges that the aviation industry will have to manage,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of ACI World.
“Airports can harness the new opportunities brought about by AAM and integrate this into their operating and business models, bringing added value to local communities, businesses as well as facilitating a societal transformation towards sustainability which these types of innovations will bring.”
Defending Against Drones
Meanwhile, ACI’s Counter Drones Knowledge Centre, supported by Vigilant Drone Defense, arms airports with resources and information on the prevention of unauthorized drone and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) activities that would interfere with safe airport and air traffic operations.
The knowledge centre collects a wide range of publicly available guidance material, regulations, white papers, and policies on the topic of drone risk mitigation from around the world. It provides airports and the public with a global one-stop shop reference point.
“The safety and security of airport operations and customers we serve is a priority,” said de Oliveira. “This is why the Counter Drones Knowledge Centre has been launched to be a key resource for airports to prevent unauthorized activities and ensure safe and secure operations.”
*To download the policy brief you have to register your personal details with ACI.
[Main image: eVTOL graphic courtesy of EmbraerX.]