Chinese-based autonomous aviation technology company EHang has announced the inauguration of its first European urban air mobility (UAM) centre in Spain.

The centre is located inside the Lleida–Alguaire International Airport (LEDA), a regional airport operated by Aeroports de Catalunya.

This announcement marks the establishment of Europe’s first UAM centre and lays the stage for the effective integration of eVTOL operations with airport infrastructure.

The Nasdaq-listed company showcased its EH216-S aircraft at the inauguration, which features a design speed of 130km/h and a maximum range of 30km.

The EHang test flight at LEDA Credit: EHang.

EHang founder and CEO Mr Huazhi Hu described the opening as a strong step in European integration.

Mr Hu said: “The establishment of EHang’s European UAM Center marks an important step forward in the company’s international development. Through this world-class UAM centre, EHang expects to manifest its strong commitment with the development and deployment of UAM in Europe.

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“EHang aims to share our certified and validated technology and operational experience with our partners around the world in the future to make our shared vision for benefiting all of society with safe, autonomous and eco-friendly UAM solutions.”

The EH216-S has recently obtained a type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), deeming the aircraft qualified for conducting passenger-carrying UAV commercial operations.

Ehang further emphasised its commitment to advancing air mobility initiatives in Europe. It has set goals of obtaining EASA certification and airworthiness criteria in order to boost industry growth and make UAM a reality in Europe.

Marc Sanglas, secretary of mobility and infrastructure of the Catalonian Government in Spain, added: “We are especially proud of the cooperation with EHang, a leading technology company in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles in the world, to whom we are grateful for having chosen our international airport as their first European UAM Center.”

This project aligns with expectations from EASA, which claims that urban air mobility will become a reality across Europe between 2024 and 2026.