Today, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) released a whitepaper titled "Urban Air Mobility: Considerations for Vertiport Operation.”
The whitepaper reviews the applicability of existing federal regulations and industry standards to specific aspects of urban air mobility (UAM), as well as some security and certification related considerations for Part 135 on-demand air charter operators. UAM is envisioned as on-demand air transportation in core urban areas and residential suburban destinations using electric-powered, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
“This whitepaper illuminates the lack of specific regulations in areas that will give UAM companies a lot of opportunities to define how their operations can look in the future, including ground handling and passenger facilitation. Those unregulated areas also happen to be many of NATA members’ key lines of business and expertise. As the singular trade association representing existing aviation service providers, NATA stands ready to work with the UAM industry to share our experiences and methods, as well as develop synergistic connections between UAM companies and our members,” noted NATA President Gary Dempsey.
While the whitepaper found there are no federal regulations governing aircraft ground handling, the industry does operate under an accepted set of best practices. The International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) is a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers that features at its core a safety management system (SMS). The IS-BAH follows the long-established structure of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Program and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program. To adapt to the rapidly growing industry, NATA will chair the newly-convened working group under the IS-BAH Standards Review Board to explore UAM issues in ground handling.
On passenger facilitation, the whitepaper also found no applicable federal regulations. However, the existing Fixed Based Operator (FBO) industry facilitates the movement of thousands of aircraft, pilots, and passengers every day. FBOs have developed proven methods to safely and efficiently move passengers to and from aircraft in very active ramp environments. NATA member FBOs are uniquely positioned to collaborate with UAM stakeholders in developing effective passenger facilitation procedures that will ensure a balance of safe and efficient operations while maximizing passenger throughput.
NATA looks forward to connecting aviation service industry leaders with UAM providers. Should you have any questions, please reach out to NATA’s Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Jonathon Freye, at firstname.lastname@example.org.