This has proved to be an eventful week for German advanced air mobility (AAM) firm Volocopter.
Just as Volocopter’s eVTOL was entertaining visitors at the Paris Air Show by taking place in the show’s customary air display, the firm confirmed the successful completion of the first eVTOL flight tests in Saudi Arabia and its plans to be fully operational by the time of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The Saudi tests follow a €175 million investment in the eVTOL developer, announced in November 2022, by NEOM, the Saudi investment program that aims to build a futuristic city in the northwestern region of the kingdom.
Since 2021, Volocopter and NEOM have been collaborating to bring eVTOL flight to what its planners envisage could become one of the major tourism hubs in the Middle East. GACA, the kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, has also been a partner in this initiative, which has involved testing Volocopter’s aircraft in local desert conditions and its integration with the local unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) system.
At roughly the same time, albeit a few thousand miles north at Le Bourget, it was jointly confirmed by Volocopter, Groupe ADP (the company that manages the main airports in the Paris region), the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) and the Region of Paris that there will be eVTOL operations in the French capital during the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
For the occasion, Volocopter intends to operate a mix of urban air mobility missions and tourist flights.
When it comes to standard air mobility services, three specific routes have been defined for regular services: between Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Paris-Le Bourget airports, between the Austerlitz barge in downtown Paris and Paris Heliport, and between the latter and the airfield of Saint-Cyr-l’École (near Versailles).
Tourist flights will also operate from both Paris Heliport and Paris Le Bourget airport, the latter being the setting of the Paris Air Show.