Volocopter CEO Seeks Business Aviation Partners at EBACE2019

21 May, 2019

Florian ReuterDuring his keynote address on 21 May, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the company’s electric air taxi was “the perfect complement and addition to business aviation,” and finding industry partners brought him to this year’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2019).

“Volocopter is a tech company with aviation at heart, and we’re moving forward at breathtaking speed,” Reuter told show attendees. “I’d love to use the opportunity at EBACE to communicate with you about how we could potentially cooperate going forward.”

Volocopter is developing an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi. With a 22-mile range, 400 pounds of payload capacity and a very quiet operating profile, its latest model is designed for short-range, urban missions.

The first use case Reuter envisions for this rotorcraft is shuttling business aviation passengers from airports such as New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport (TEB) or London Luton Airport (LTN) to their final destination in the city center.

In 2016, Volocopter earned provisional licensing for its two-seater from the German aviation authorities. It is in the process of finalizing a Special Condition certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for light VTOL aircraft.

“EASA knows this technology is coming and they have to adapt to it,” said Reuter, adding the agency has been remarkably constructive, straightforward and innovative in its work with Volocopter. “In the eVTOL space, you’ll see a Cambrian explosion of new vehicle concepts.”

Because they have seen “the traditional boundaries between industries disappearing,” Volocopter wants to “play along the entire mobility value chain,” Reuter said, by working with industry partners.

Reuter teased an announcement this week at EBACE2019 with a strategic partner on a ground infrastructure concept for eVTOL aircraft and said Volocopter is actively seeking business aviation partners, especially in flight operations.

Show How Business Aviation Is Essential, Urges UK Parliamentarian

Volocopter committed to building its air taxi fully electric, because the company expects political pressure in city centers to shift against emissions. Around the world, political perceptions of business aviation will continue to be shaped by emissions, fellow keynote speaker the Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps, MP, told the EBACE audience.

Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps, MP“People are out there, changing the political agenda, to ensure a future for our planet that is green,” said Shapps, the United Kingdom (UK) member of Parliament representing Welwyn Hatfield and a leader in the Conservative party.

With the rise of climate concerns, Shapps predicted political pressure will ratchet up for business aviation to improve its environmental footprint.

“Business aviation is very likely to end up at the forefront of these concerns,” said Shapps, “I think it is incumbent on us to get there first. We have a small but shrinking window.”

Shapps urged everyone in the industry to make the case that business aviation is a net positive for the economy and for society. He cited the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation, which he chairs, to show the industry creates job and education opportunities in the STEM fields.

“I think we have a really good story to tell,” said Shapps, “that business aviation is essential.”

If the industry is able to show that business aviation “provides jobs and growth in a clean and sustainable manner,” he predicted, “we’ll be here in another decade’s time with this exhibition bigger and more important than ever.”