Interview with UrbanV: Going full speed ahead for the Urban Mobility future


Urban or Advanced Air Mobility is for many of us still far off as flying in eVTOLs (electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles) still looks like a thing of the future but that would be underplaying its importance.

Urban Air Mobility is here to stay and will become one of the most important ways of transportation.

According to consultants McKinsey, the future is looking extremely bright for the business as it even indicated that AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) flights may eventually exceed the volumes of commercial and business aviation for large operators, meaning that billions are at stake.

This year has been a critical year for the future of AAM in Italy, a future that has been prepared by Aeroporti di Roma for some time.

Several years ago Aeroporti di Roma decided to venture into Urban Air Mobility and to collaborate with mother company Atlantia and Volocopter to move in this direction.

Over the years it has built up an important expertise and the decision was taken to firmly move in this direction and start working on vertiports.

In 2022 UrbanV was established, a company set up by Aeroporti di Roma, SAVE Group, Aeroporto di Bologna and Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, for the development of Advanced Air Mobility.

The official kick off took place in Rome in October with the successful first crewed eVTOL test flights in Italian airspace. The tests were part of a mobility ecosystem setup at Fiumicino’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. A key milestone towards the envisioned rollout of advanced air mobility (AAM) services in Rome by 2024, with the partners having initiated operations of the first test vertiport in Italy.

The idea is to start with connecting Fiumicino’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport to Rome City Centre and to subsequently introduce additional routes in and around the City of Rome.

UrbanV will focus on designing, building and operating vertiports.

The Vertiports will be small passenger terminals, fit to the dimension of eVTOL flights. One of the big differences with normal airline traffic is that eVTOL flights are already fully sustainable as they are 100% electric. They can thus contribute significantly to alleviating traffic congestion while being fully sustainable.

As a next step, UrbanV is establishing an ecosystem of key players that can help shape the future of Advanced Air Mobility. This means a lot of new opportunities for leading Italian and international aviation players willing to support UrbanV’s strategy with the right services, solutions and products so it can create a full end to end offer for Vertiports in Italy and beyond.

We had the honor to have an in-depth discussion with UrbanV’s CEO, Carlo Tursi to find out more about UrbanV.

Carlo Tursi, CEO, UrbanV

How do we see the relationship Atlantia, Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) and the other airports reunited in UrbanV. What is the role of each and who is mastering the future strategy?

Atlantia is a major investor in UrbanV and has an investment vision that is focused on innovation and sustainable mobility. ADR – together with the other partners – was the driving force for the UrbanV startup, thanks to its vision, its in-depth experience of the aviation world and its pioneering role in the world of Advanced Air Mobility. Today UrbanV is a separate company that autonomously carries out the vision and execution of a strategy aimed at becoming an international leader in Advanced Air Mobility.

How can Italy take a pioneering role in AAM knowing that ADP and AENA are getting quite active in this space as well and not only on a national level? How solid is the support from ENAC and the government?

Italy has the potential to be a very attractive market for Advanced Air Mobility and is on track to be one of the first markets in the world to have commercial services in Advanced Air Mobility thanks also to the leadership demonstrated by ENAC in this area. From our point of view there is no competition but rather a collaboration between the main players in Europe in this area. This is important so we can bring about a rapid transition towards these forms of sustainable mobility for the benefit of all European citizens. Collaboration between various ecosystem players can bring many benefits including homogeneity of rules and safety standards.

How do we think this ecosystem will look like, what do you have in house and where are partnerships needed?

A strong collaboration between the different players is needed to successfully lead to the birth of the new Advanced Air Mobility sector. UrbanV brings strong skills and experience in the design and operation of aviation and mobility infrastructure. We work in strong partnerships with numerous other public and private projects, including for example, regulatory bodies, local and national institutions, air navigation service providers, eVTOL manufacturers, Advanced Air Mobility operators, technology players and other operators in the mobility field.

What is your strategy for Italy and beyond and what are the key international markets and targets?

In Italy we plan to launch the first route to Rome by the end of 2024 and then expand the network in the following years. In parallel we are already working on the development of Advanced Air Mobility networks in the regions of Venice, Bologna and on the French Riviera. UrbanV’s ambitions are international and today we have open discussions with potential partners in different countries across multiple continents.

How many users do we expect to see for the first routes of the Rome based vertiports?

We believe that the inherent characteristics of eVTOLs offer the potential for the introduction of a service that over time will have low operating costs and consequently becomes accessible to large sections of the population. However, the roll out of this technology will be gradual over time and therefore we will start with a small-scale service that allows those who operate it to accumulate operational experience and all of us, citizens, to become familiar with this service and the benefits it offers.

Is there a link to the ADR innovation project?

The UrbanV initiative is one of the examples of ADR’s strong drive towards innovation which is active on various fronts including the launch of the innovation hub, a unique one of a kind innovation pole in Europe.

How do you see the collaboration with the AirTech members?

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with other industry players engaged in this sector in order to build up the ecosystem and strengthen our proposition in our international endeavors.