Airbus to focus on entire ecosystem of UAM market

Airbus VP explains company’s plans to become a “system integrator” for the entire urban air market.

Airbus is taking a wide focus across the entire urban air ecosystem in its bid to create a viable market for its aircraft.

Airbus Vice President Head of Solutions Unmanned Aerial Mobility Harini Kulatunga said a holistic view was needed in order to bring new transport solutions to market.

She said: “We are focusing not only on the aircraft, but we are looking at the infrastructure, the unmanned traffic management systems, how do we safely integrate these vehicles into the airspace?"

"And we are talking to the city authorities on moving forward on regulation, on certification, on how we can integrate these vehicles into city planning and transport networks and, finally, how do we make the service available to the consumer and how would they use this?”

“So we are looking at all those aspects of the UAM ecosystem that makes this a viable market in the future,” she added.

Airbus has a history of being a system integrator

Progression towards an urban air market will depend on agreements from different stakeholders - on everything from vehicle types to regulation and certification, plus the identification of suitable take off and landing sites, before the first passengers can board.

Kulatunga explained Airbus’ role in the new market: “Airbus has a history of being a system integrator, bringing together different industry partners, working with different stakeholders, both regulatory as well as government, working with our customers, potential customers. We want to play the role of the system integrator, the company that brings together all the different aspects of the UM solution and enables the market to happen. So that’s going to be our strategy and our focus going forward.”

She said Airbus wanted regulators to adapt to the changing market and move forward in their approach to regulation and certification. If this was to take place, she added that the changing market might not be “as daunting and expensive” as it might be.

Airbus' vehicles to take to the skies in 2020s

When asked by WeAreFinn when Airbus’ urban air vehicles were expected to take to the skies, she said this might be around the mid 2020s, with transportation of people over cities expected in 2030, although she added other manufacturers might be able to fly sooner.

Kulatunga said: “The aviation industry is at an exciting time – I do not want to predict when that might be but I expect it will be sooner rather than later.”

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