Koln airport could become air cab takeoff point

koln airport could become air cab takeoff point

Checking in via app, boarding – and whizzing home elegantly past all the traffic jams: in the future, air cabs could transport passengers from cololn/bonn airport to surrounding cities.

The airport has studied the future scenario in a feasibility study. Result: in principle, all the conditions for an air cab take-off point are given at the traffic junction in the southeast of colonia. "We believe in it," airport boss johan vanneste said on wednesday about the new technology. The company is also interested in possible test flights.

For the study, conducted in cooperation with the rheinisch-westfalische technische hochschule aachen, a simulation was made of how a so-called vertiport for air cabs could be run. The study looked at electrically powered flight systems that can fly a handful of passengers over manageable distances – for example, to dusseldorf, the ruhr region or the benelux countries. The authors are initially assuming machines that still have a pilot in them – not autonomous air cabs, which is one of the industry’s distant goals.

One conceivable scenario: instead of continuing their journey by train, bus or car after landing at the airport, passengers could switch to a flight cab, easily bookable via app. The upper decks of two parking garages are mentioned as a possible location, where the machines could be charged with electricity before taking off again vertically. This also relieved some of the pressure on the other traffic networks. Before the corona pandemic, the airport handled about 12 million passengers a year. If five percent were to switch to a flight cab, that would be 600.000 users per year.

Various companies around the world are working on air cab technology. A machine from the german manufacturer volocopter, for example, successfully completed a manned test flight in singapore in october 2019. But there is no regular operation yet. Also the colonn airport did not give a time window for a possible implementation. A possible price for an air cab ticket is also still in the stars. The reason for this are the numerous unanswered questions – technical, legal, but also, for example, on the subject of air traffic control.

"We are playing music for the future today at a time when we are in the midst of a gigantic crisis," NRW transport minister hendrik wust said of the coln study. "But crises in economic history have always been catalysts also for innovation". In the case of the classic infrastructure, the signs of the times had not been recognized and it had been left to decay. "If we do not recognize the signs of the times, as far as innovation is concerned, this would be the next big mistake."



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