EPATS Home page

List of Participant
Consortium description
Technical Reports
Expert Workshop
Joint Meeting with CESAR
Joint Meeting with SESAR
ILA Berlin Conference
Project Management Committee
Consortium Companies
WorkPackage Management
Users Forum
EPATS Community
Project Coordinator


Rationale for EPATS

There is a tendency to think, that Personal Transport System or Personal Air vehicle is intended for rich men and wealthy countries only, like USA, and therefore do not represent a major business case at European level. It is true today for existing personal air vehicle like Falcon, Learjet or Gulfstream, for which the acquisition price surpasses 15 millions euros and flying costs are more than 10 thousands euros per hours. But it is not true any more, if we consider the future society needs for flexible and affordable air travel, and the possibility of development of both small aircrafts and infrastructures, with performances and operational costs that could be more than ten times lesser than today.

These potentials show a clear opportunity for developing a new small aircraft transport system which would support air transport future needs and would represent a strong opportunity for strengthening the European small aircraft transportation supply chain. If no Research & Development work is undertaken, the threat to the European ATS will be the deepening of the technological gap in this domain between Europe and America, and result in huge Personal Aircraft import with all its economic and industrial negative consequences for the European industry.

The need to travel within Europe is increasing rapidly, as can be derived from the statistics provided by the European Union. More especially the extension of Europe to 25 Member States will increase the demand for transportation within the European Union.

Current modes of transport suffer from severe congestion or limitations. The European road network is heavily congested, the average travel car speed doesn’t exceed seventy five km/h since a lot of years, existing and new high-speed trains connect only a limited number of cities and will never deserve medium and small cities, the average speed of traditional train connecting medium and small cities remains low.

 Air transport is expected to triple in the next 15 years. But the 43 European large hub airports that still handle 85% of the European air traffic are congested and some are already reaching the limits of their capacity. Other airports in Europe are greatly under-used however. Apart from the hub airports, there are some 2200 other airports, including 450 main airports that can be used to satisfy the increased demand for travel. They form an already existing infrastructure that can solve the capacity problems easily in short time without heavy investments!

 The experience shows that door-to-door travel time in Europe could benefit from a different approach to air travel. As an example, travelling from Poznan in Poland to Lille in France, using different modes of transport shows that travelling by small aeroplanes provides substantial benefits as shown in the figures below with the example of the Poznan/Lille business travel.

Travel mode

Travel time

from door to door

Travel cost per person

Regular air transport (via Warsaw and Paris)

10,2 hrs

1221 euro

Regular car

14,0 hrs

675 euro


15,3 hrs

612 euro

Personal aircraft (example PZL I-23 “Manager”)

4,6 hrs

411 euro

The general aviation (small aircraft) in Europe is mainly composed of obsolete aeroplanes (about 30.000) which can not fulfil the new requirements for air transport, as these serve mainly sport, recreation, pilot training and special duties (like crop spraying and patrolling). Only few of them are really designed for air travel tasks. However, the European industry has a good track record in building small aeroplanes and has all skills to further develop this market.

A preliminary comparison of road and air travel parameters based on high level technology shows the rational for EPATS.