Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Costa Rica enters the future with first Advanced Air Mobility

Indepth


Bluenest by Globalvia, Guanacaste Airport (VINCI Airports) and Reserva Conchal join forces strategically to make Costa Rica the pioneer country of the new electric air mobility in Latin America.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) or Innovative Air Mobility (IAM) represents a new safe, efficient and sustainable transport solution, both for passengers and goods, thanks to the use of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs –Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) which has been presented for the first time in Latin America with a demonstration flight, at an event organized in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Bluenest by Globalvia, the innovation line of the Globalvia Group (world leader in transportation infrastructure management) for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and vertiport management, Guanacaste Aeropuerto subsidiary of VINCI Airports, and Reserva Conchal, the hospitality division of FIFCO, have strategically joined forces to organize a pioneering event in the region that explains this new mobility and its benefits.

This revolution in electric and automated air mobility comes to Costa Rica motivated by the alliance of these three partners, whose common objective is to promote sustainability in the Costa Rican country, guaranteeing a better quality of life and well-being for its citizens through the potential and advantages that eVTOL (electric and vertical take-off and landing) vehicles can bring to urban and peri-urban mobility.

As part of this common strategy, these three companies aligned to present this new air mobility solution and the benefits it brings to society and the environment, which include:

  • Zero emissions of CO2 and other particles, reducing pollution as it is an eco-sustainable transportation system.
  • Low noise and turbulence levels.
  • Connectivity and socio-economic development in rural and mountainous areas, islands, or coastal areas and reduction in traffic density without the need to deploy expensive land infrastructure.
  • Versatility: regional and urban transportation, air taxi, airport transportation, emergency services, and tourist routes, among other uses.

The celebration included the first actual demonstration flight in Latin America of an eVTOL passenger aircraft.

This is the EH216, the first unmanned eVTOL, certified for passenger transportation, manufactured by EHang, a world leader in unmanned aerial vehicle technology for Urban Air Mobility, and the first company in the sector to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The EH216 aircraft has taken off from the heliport located in Reserva Conchal.

The aircraft flew over the golf course, the coastal area, the sea, and a large resort area until it landed at the same point on the heliport.

Likewise, they have presented the specific use cases proposed for Costa Rica, which range from tourist routes with panoramic views to faster transfers from the airport to the center of the country or urgent delivery of medicines in remote areas.

Furthermore, to bring this new way of traveling closer to future users in a more realistic way, it has been presented what the travel experience would be like for a person who wants to travel from one end of the country to the other, representing the phases that the user would go through and that would include boarding the aircraft and landing at the destination.

This act and, specifically, the viability and development of the demonstration flight have been possible thanks to the collaboration and coordination with the inspectors of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Costa Rica in supervising the operation with the different participating actors.

This milestone makes Costa Rica the pioneer country in Latin America in terms of advanced air mobility. It is the first step of a more ambitious and common objective: promoting sustainability and innovation in Costa Rica, guaranteeing a better quality of life and well-being for its citizens through the potential and advantages that eVTOLs can bring to mobility.

Fernando Vallejo Lázaro, Director of Innovation, IT, and Sustainability at Globalvia, expressed: “sustainability and innovation are the two fundamental pillars that govern Globalvia’s strategy and, precisely, sustainable advanced air mobility brings together both qualities. We are convinced that Costa Rica is the perfect place to develop this mobility of the future that has taken off and landed in this country today. Making this milestone a reality, thanks to the collaboration with our partners, reflects our firm commitment to the project and this region.”

José Ignacio Rodríguez, Manager of Bluenest by Globalvia, stated: “we are satisfied and proud to have contributed to a milestone in advanced and sustainable air mobility in the Latin American region, with the first flight of an unmanned electric aircraft for passengers. Our first validations of vertiports outside of Spain, with the invaluable support of the DGAC, Westin, and Guanacaste Airport, are a great step for Bluenest and for the region in our common desire to offer safer, more efficient, quieter, and sustainable mobility to visitors and residents. We see in the Guanacaste region and the partners of this event the perfect combination to make the mobility of the future a reality very soon.”

César Jaramillo, General Manager of Guanacaste Airport, pointed out: “this project meets both the sustainability and development objectives of the Guanacaste region and the VINCI Airports roadmap to decarbonize aviation and promote innovation in each platform. The support provided by VINCI Airports demonstrates the value of being part of the largest international network of private airports for the future development of the Guanacaste airport.”

Fabián Fernández, Manager of the Reserva Conchal hospitality division of FIFCO, commented: “in line with our innovative spirit, our vision of sustainability, and specifically as part of our Climate Action strategy, we join this mobility milestone in Costa Rica and Latin America.

This first flight in our facilities allows us to dream of a more sustainable future that responds to the needs of our national and foreign clients, who increasingly demand green and clean options in their stays, minimizing their ecological footprint when vacationing.”

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