This deliverable wraps up the findings that help to achieve an initial understanding of the operational and environmental attractiveness and sustainability of UAM. Five recommendations were developed to help achieve such objectives. As yet, a further note: for demo flights, it might not be essential to use an aircraft with a configuration that perfectly matches the requirements, and some elements of the operating environment might be omitted. But to achieve effectiveness in operation, that is very important for both business and environmental aspects.

The link between UAM and circular economy and further – towards Sustainable Development Goals, relevant targets and indicators – has been found. Still, the impact of UAM elements and operations cannot be verified, even though it is expected to be positive. Too many factors influence sustainability matters. Only environmental concerns bring a range of unanswered questions. The project teams explored noise and CO2-related issues, which are just two elements out of many. How sustainable are the electric sources? How sustainable is the ground infrastructure – for example, vertiports, energy grids or storages, and other engineering communications? And how can sustainability be measured? The last question is not entirely relevant to UAM, but tangible verification could help set the benchmark. It will take some time while statistically significant data is collected and reliable assessment means appear.

The proposed categorisation of stakeholders defines high-level categories that could orient cities and municipalities. Nevertheless, finer categorisation might be needed with the increasing number of UAM operations and the growing maturity of business models. In this work, the interrelationships are indicated from the point of cities and municipalities. Along with the maturity of the UAM domain, it would be interesting to continue this work and identify the primary and secondary relationships from every stakeholder towards the other ones. As the AiRMOUR project is already finishing, and the jump in number of UAM operations and maturity of business models is not observed, it would be interesting to come to these matters in time. This work could be brought outside of the AiRMOUR project consortium and conducted by a broader range of European and international stakeholders involved in the development of UAM and the more recent notions, such as Innovative Air Mobility (IAM) introduced by the European Drone Strategy 2.0 [33] and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) [49] promoted by ICAO and NASA.

The CO2 Life Cycle Assessment model for UAS and eVTOL developed within the project may be replicated to assess the other operations within UAM, not only EMS. Ground infrastructure emissions amount to over 50% of the total UAM system life-cycle emissions, even under conservative assumptions, due to hangar thermal management and construction-time emissions. Therefore, energy-efficient hangar solutions and using existing infrastructure are essential to keep the environmental footprint from UAM at an acceptable level.

UAM is an industry in its infancy, with almost no concrete experience from UAM services enabled by BVLOS flight missions or with air taxi-type aircraft. The scalability indices are, therefore, based on the perceived, rather than objective, prerequisites to scaling up UAM services. With growing experience from actual operations, experience-based scalability assessment methods should be created. Until then, the AiRMOUR scalability assessment should only be regarded as qualitative and indicative.

Business models are probably the most sensitive results of the research. Organisations aspiring to incorporate UAM into their operational frameworks should anticipate and budget for up-front expenditures. That might encompass the acquisition and setup of a fleet but will also include comprehensive training programs and robust infrastructure development. Essential infrastructural elements include dedicated landing zones with secure access, state-of-the-art maintenance hubs, and cutting-edge technological systems tailored for UAM integration. Moreover, to navigate this evolving landscape effectively, these organisations must remain abreast of the latest regulatory changes concerning drones and eVTOL aircraft, given the profound impact such regulations can have on operational dynamics.

The answer to the research questions: How can the operational and environmental attractiveness and sustainability of Urban Air Mobility be achieved? – is still open. The research does not unveil the working under any circumstances guidance following which it is possible to achieve a high level of operational and environmental attractiveness and sustainability of UAM. A pathway towards operationally and environmentally attractive and sustainable UAM is complicated. But in the case of success, it is awarded. The authors of this work hope that their recommendations will help to succeed with planning and establishing the UAM operations.

Read the report here.