Chinese eVTOL aircraft developer EHang today announced another European alliance to advance urban air mobility with Spain's Aeroports de Catalunya group. The airports company in the north eastern region of Catalonia will support EHang's plans for air taxi services, as well as logistics flights and supporting ground infrastructure.
The announcement came just a couple of days after Zaragoza has become the third Spanish city to partner with eVTOL aircraft developer EHang on plans to establish what the Chinese company says will be an aerial transportation hub. EHang intends to conduct flight tests with its all-electric, two-seat EH216 aircraft in the northern Spanish city, as well as in Seville and Lliria, and also at Linz in Austria.
In Zaragoza, EHang will be able to conduct trials out of the Hera Drone Hub and along the Ebro river, which runs through the city. The city is in the Spanish region of Aragon, which borders the Catalonia region.
On April 27, EHang demonstrated the EH216 at the Fourth Digital China Summit in Fuzhou, China, from April 25 to 29. A week earlier, the aircraft made another high-profile public appearance at the opening ceremony for China’s professional soccer league, delivering the Vulcan Cup trophy to the Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium.
According to EHang, the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority last year granted an operational flight permit for the company to conduct EH216 test flights with its undisclosed local customer to support efforts to certify the aircraft. The company has not provided any update on how this project is progressing, and most of the work for the type certification now seems to be concentrated in China, where the country’s aviation authorities recently established a team of officials to oversee the process.
Since 2019, EHang has been working with its Austrian partner FACC to establish the city of Linz as another testbed for urban air mobility operations. In December 2020, Austrian civil aviation authorities granted a permit to allow trial autonomous flight operations. To receive this permit, EHang and FACC first had to complete a specific operational risk assessment that involved a flight from the town of St. Martin in Innkreis during severely cold weather and high winds.