In less than four years, we will travel by air taxis in cities

Sustainable Mobility Forum, Urban Air Mobility section, presented on January 27th, 2021, an edition dedicated to visionaries and innovators from around the world, and their ideas about the future of urban air transport.

Guest speakers invited to this meeting were: László Borbély – State Counsellor, Head of the Department for Sustainable Development of the Romanian Government, Duncan Walker – CEO&Founder Skyports, Corina Ştiubei – Safety Data Analysis and Performance Review Manager, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Remus Dogaru – Aeronautical Inspector, Romanian Civil Aviation Authority, Justin Chirea – Aeronautical Inspector, Romanian Civil Aviation Authority and Cristian Macedonschi – President Smart City Brasov Association , in a discussion moderated by Dan Scarlat, Editor in Chief TOP GEAR Romania.

Discussions were opened by László Borbély, State Counsellor, Head of The Department for Sustainable Development of the Romanian Government, who spoke about the future of urban mobility in Romania, and how it can be modelled from the 2030 Agenda, one of the most important documents assumed by all UN states.

What are the challenges that Romania must overcome in order to increase and encourage sustainable mobility, but also what solutions we can apply to reduce carbon emissions, were widely presented by Mr Borbély at the Sustainable Mobility Forum event.

The Minister also spoke about the alternative fuels that can be used in this endeavor and which path Romania must follow in order to become competitive in the direction of using alternative energy resources.

At least 4 Sustainable Development Goals are related to transport: SDG 3- Health and well-being; SDG 9-Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities; SDG-13 Climate change.

“Climate change is a global challenge, and for that we need a responsible approach. Romania has the potential to generate clean energy, including when we refer to innovative solutions such as hydrogen. The Department for Sustainable Development is constantly taking action to fulfil its role as a catalyst, which brings local authorities, the private environment and society to the same table, to determine what our objectives, immediate and concrete actions are to materialise these goals” stressed the Minister in his allocation.

The event continued with an interview, premier in Romania, with Duncan Walker CEO & Founder Skyports.

Skyports is among the visionaries who contribute, through the technology developed in recent years, to the electrification of the aviation industry, with the aim of finding innovative solutions that lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint and, at the same time provide answers to questions about sustainable mobility for overcrowded cities.

e-VTOLs  and infrastructure designed and operated by Skyports are an alternative solution to existing transportation and infrastructure, which are created as a necessity to reducing pollution in major cities, and jamed traffic.

Duncan Walker pointed out the advantages of using such e-VTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) technologies, both in the case of air taxis and cargo drone transport, and appreciated that, within four years, we will see them used commercially. Compared to other aircraft currently in use, they are clean, much safer (with more engines, batteries and rotors), more cost-effective, and can land, without problems, in tight spaces. Moreover, their main usefulness lies in the fact that, in addition to the advantages listed above, they can land in the middle of crowded cities, bringing users the advantage of reducing the time spent in traffic.

In terms of drone transport, Duncan Walker believes that they will change the dynamics of the supply chains in the future; he spoke of the fact that, in the recent months, Skyports has collaborated with the National Healthcare Service, to transport Covid 19 test kits between the continent and nearby islands, and stressed the usefulness and versatility of these aircraft. A ferry and car ride, which usually lasts 6 hours, could be travelled by drone in about 15 minutes, thus allowing 16 trips per day, regardless of the topography of the area and atmospheric conditions.

“Drones are successfully used to carry various loads in hard-to-reach, fast, safe areas; at the moment they are very used in shipments of medicines or perishable goods, but in the future, they will definitely be accessed by other industries, such as e-commerce, logistics, retail or agriculture,” Said Duncan Walker.

In 2019, Skyports and the German company Volocopter, in association with local and aviation authorities, built and tested, in Singapore, the first concept of vertiport, taking the concept of “urban air mobility” to the next level. “Volocity”, the air taxi designed by Volocopter, can carry up to 200 kg or 2 perons, is electric, clean, silent, moves in complete safety.

Duncan Walker believes that Skyports has come to market with an alternative, viable, sustainable, eco-friendly transport solution, is intended for the masses, which will operate in compliance with all aviation safety rules.

The next guest for the discussions, Corina Ştiubei – Safety Data Analysis and Performance Review Manager, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), spoke about EBAA’s mission to support sustainable and responsible growth in the business aviation sector. When we talk about business aviation, we mean operators, FBO, airports, service, manufacturers and service providers, all brought together under EBAA’s umbrella.

The business aviation sector connects Europe through its more than 1,400 airports, creates more than 374,000 jobs, and contributes more than 87 million euros to Europe’s economy. In the past year, the aviation sector has been deeply affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, suffering its worst crisis to date. In 2020, compared to 2019, there was a loss of more than 25% on the flight side, the frequency of flights decreased by more than 450 flights/day, and in April 2019, there was a 76% decrease in air traffic due to the closure of the borders. Airlines started 2019 with a 90% drop in flight capacity, to reach 40% at the end of the year, the worst drop in air traffic ever recorded.

Corina Ştiubei spoke about the measures EBAA took during the pandemic, creating, together with EASA protocols and safety measures, both for its members, as well as for travelers and other entities involved in the aviation industry.

What helped the industry during this period was the ability of companies to find alternative ways of operating, to regroup and change the focus of operations and to reconfigure aircraft to what was required at the time: transport of medical personnel, medicines, repatriates, passengers with Covid 19, in complete safety.

Corina Ştiubei also spoke about the lessons learned and about the positive side of the pandemic, namely that the digitization and debureaucratization of some operations, such as the release of documents and their acceptance in electronic format, the certification of online processes, remote auditing processes, but what was most important, targeted the human factor, the crisis bringing together all the parties involved, operators and regulators. Measures have been taken to protect those working in aviation, especially for pilots and aircrew, categories that have been most affected by the pandemic.

Corina Ştiubei referred also to the concept of U-space and the initiative of SAF (sustainable aviation fuels). U-space is a concept that includes services based on a high level of digitization and automation of specific functions and procedures designed to support safe, efficient and safe access to airspace for a large number of drones.

About the Concept of U-space and legislation in the field of drone use, spoke Remus Dogaru and Justin Chirea, aeronautical inspectors at the Romanian Civil Aviation Authority. A new regulation has entered into force from 1 January 2021, as a result drone users are subject to new European regulations aimed at establishing a common set of rules in EU Member States. Among other things, the new regulations determine where drones can be used and aim to identify their owners more easily, and, on the other hand, no distinction is made between commercial and entertainment use of drones. Those interested can find out more details about the use and registration regime on the website of the authority https://www.caa.ro/

Cristian Macedonschi, President of the Smart City Brasov Association spoke about the state of Brasov International Airport, exemplifying with images and videos the state of construction, which is expected to be operational in the 2021 summer. Companies such as Lufthansa, LOT and El Al Israel Airlines are already interested in operating flights at this airport once it is opened.

Cristian Macedonschi listed the advantages and benefits that the opening of the airport will bring to both Brasov and Romania, from the point of view of tourism, business and investors. Companies and major investors have expressed their intention to develop their businesses in the area, and to make new investments in aviation.

Cristian Macedonschi also spoke at the conclusion about the problems that Brasov is facing in terms of the increased level of pollution, and about the measures the authorities are taking to solve this problem.

To follow the discussions at the event, please access the link:

Partners:

Main Partner: Next Energy Partners

Partners: Private Jets Europe, Skyports, EBAA

Media partners: Top Gear Romania, Rhapsody Magazine, NetTV

About the organizer:

With experience in organising private events, In 2016, Idea Events began organizing a series of public events generated by the most topical international and national topics in terms of sustainability and sustainable development.

With each event, Idea Events promotes good practice, encourages creativity, and facilitates the exchange of experience. All materials used in events are made of recycled materials, and through each action an approach that is as environmentally friendly as possible is promoted.

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