Oeiras and Magellan 500 aim for Air Electric Mobility system by 2029

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Chamber and consortium promoting the Santarém airport signed a protocol to create a vertiport. Vertical take-off and landing aircraft, powered by electricity, are seen as having the potential to revolutionize the way we move around, while reducing environmental impacts.

The Oeiras City Hall and the Magellan 500 consortium, promoter of the new Santarém airport, of which the Barraqueiro group is part, formalized yesterday a protocol for an Electric Air Mobility project in this municipality in the Lisbon district and which aims at the installation of vertiports for passenger transportation using eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing) aircrafts. The estimate is that it may be in operation within six years, in 2029.

In the presentation of the project, some of the reasons that support this bet were pointed out, and that include the fact that currently there is already a “significant investment in new technologies for vertical take-off and landing aircraft”. This is due to both the “significant reduction” of environmental impacts they provide (less noise and powered by electricity), and the potential that, “combined with increasing levels of automation and new adapted infrastructures,” will “revolutionize the transportation of people and goods in urban and regional environments in the coming years,” at the same time reshaping “the future of cities and the way we move around them.

The advantages of Urban Air Mobility are also listed under six main headings: “decongesting the road network; improving mobility; reducing transport time; reducing pollution; reducing pressure on existing transport networks; and reducing traffic accidents.

At this stage of the project, it is explained that “through this partnership between the Municipality of Oeiras and the Magellan 500 consortium, we intend to evaluate urban air mobility development scenarios, involving all the components of urban planning, mobility, technical and technological infrastructure analysis, legal and regulatory, and national and European policies, as well as ensuring the necessary participation of key stakeholders, allowing us to have a context and a more involved understanding of how we can design our future in a more sustainable and balanced way.

eVTOL aircraft, with generally advertised cruising speeds of over 250 km/h, will flesh out the transport operation. Reportedly, several prototypes are in the development and testing phase with more than 70 manufacturers working on solutions, including giants such as Boeing and Airbus or Bell Helicopters. A survey by research firm MarketsandMarkets is cited which states that the eVTOL market will be over $30 billion by 2030. In the United States, for example, eVTOL is expected to be used “on a large scale” during the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

The conclusion is that “the cities have to start defining their role and relationship with this new mode of transportation, in order not to be overtaken in the new models” and “whoever is positioned first in the ecosystem development process will reap significant benefits and advantages. This is one of the reasons that led Oeiras to move forward, as explained by the mayor of the city, Isaltino Morais: “We are here presenting the future. There’s a lot of people who don’t understand air mobility, who think it’s an eccentricity, but this reveals a great ignorance of the technology’s potential. It’s a revolution that is happening and we are always available to accompany these innovations.

This new transport will also serve as a complement to the Lisbon airport operation. The Magellan 500 consortium is the promoter of the airport solution for the Santarém region, which is part of the final batch of nine options being studied by the Independent Technical Commission (CTI), which is responsible for helping the government make a political decision. The CTI’s recommendation should be known by the end of the year.

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