Report on activity and sustainable development 2020

Chapter 2. Anticipate


Could environmental transition and economic recovery open up new perspectives for urban mobility? Answering that question is the challenge faced by the partnership of Groupe ADP, the Île-de-France region and the RATP (the state-owned public transport operator for the Paris region) formed to create and structure an urban air mobility sector around the new generation of small Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.

The worldwide call for expressions of interest launched in 2020 resulted in the selection of around thirty projects ahead of initial real-life testing scheduled for summer 2021 at the Pontoise – Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield, which has been specifically selected and redeveloped for this purpose. The current goal for this emerging sector is to be able to demonstrate its benefits at the Paris Olympics and Paralympics in 2024, with the ultimate aim of making this new mode of transport commercially available towards the end of the decade. The VTOL aircraft manufacturers currently in the running include three French companies, one from China, one from Singapore, one from Germany, one from the UK and one from the USA.

Hologarde to counter ill-intended drones

Drone intrusions pose a major threat to aviation safety. Installed at Paris airports, this detection solution developed by Hologarde (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Groupe ADP) creates a protective bubble extending to several kilometres around each airport. Hologarde took advantage of the steep decline in air traffic during 2020 to conduct extensive intrusion tests on a scale previously unseen in Europe, and involving more than 170 flight positions over just a few days.

Volocopter prepares its future flying taxi

From Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to the business district of La Défense in just 15 minutes by flying taxi? In a few years from now, the answer to that question could be “yes”, according to German manufacturer Volocopter. The company showcased its electric VoloCity VTOL prototype at the Pontoise airfield at the end of September 2020. It will be one of the first to be tested when the programme begins in summer 2021.Conducted in collaboration with the French civil aviation authority (DGAC), with support from the European Aviation Safety Agency and Eurocontrol, this programme is designed to test parking, take-off and landing operations in a live aviation environment. From the Groupe ADP perspective, this will involve preparing for the emergence of the “Vertiports” that will handle VTOLs at some point in the future.