Leonardo and Falcon team up for UAM flights at Dubai Expo 2020
Leonardo and Dubai business-jet and FBO-services provider Falcon Aviation Services have revealed an urban air-mobility (UAM) helipad, showroom and helicopter terminal concept which will come to Dubai next year.
Both companies are expecting to open the rotorcraft terminal at an undisclosed location close to the Expo 2020 area in Dubai next year. It will be operated by Falcon and offer its business-jet customers VIP point-to-point helicopter transport to and from airports and the Expo.
The terminal concept is currently on display at the Dubai Air Show alongside Leonardo’s upcoming tiltrotor aircraft, the AW609.
Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said: “This one-of-a-kind initiative demonstrates that Leonardo, together with its long-established leading partners, is shaping the way we will fly in the next few decades.
“We’re proud to have joined forces with Falcon Aviation Services on this project in Dubai which will provide unprecedented levels of quality transportation services during a world-class event like Expo 2020.”
Leonardo has invested a lot into the VIP/VVIP travel market, with its AW109 and AW139s being some of the biggest sellers in the sector. In fact, more than 90% of the VIP helicopters operating in Dubai are Leonardo.
Her Highness Sheikha Alyazia Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, chairperson of the executive managing committee at Falcon Aviation, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Leonardo on this ground-breaking development in sustainable air mobility in Dubai to provide a never-before-seen level of transport service to millions of visitors during the World’s Greatest Show.”
Business-jet companies are looking at ways of solving the issue of point-to-point transport. Currently, operators offer luxury cars to drive customers to their final destination. But heavy congestion in many of the business centres across the world have led these companies to partner with helicopter companies or investigate UAM themselves.
Dubai is a notoriously congesteded city – even more-so during Expo 2020 with an expected 25 million visitors. As such, it was one of the earliest cities to consider UAM as an alternative transportation option – as seen with its initial plan to host Volocopter’s eVTOL air-taxi service which ultimately fell through.