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Mobility is essential for Europe. The extension of the European Union to 27 members amplifies this fact. Furthermore, especially in Eastern Europe, some areas are hardly accessible.

However, all over Europe current transport modes have limitations and suffer from congestion: roads are already congested. As the demand for travel is increasing with growth of GDP, the European Commission is advocating a shift from cars into trains. In its policy White Paper on transport,  the Commission advocates to enhance the European railway system to enable this shift in transport modes. However, railways are expensive to construct and many areas in Europe will not be served by high speed and convenient railway connections.

Most large airports are also congested or could quickly reach their maximum capacity.

Moreover, society is evolving : passengers are becoming more demanding in terms of time and cost, in addition their behaviour is also changing : a phenomenon of individualization is taking place little by little, meaning that people want to have a wider choice on transport mode. Future mobility therefore cannot be entirely satisfied by current transport systems, such as hubs, railways or highways.

The European Commission has published in 2007 an Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation recognizing the role and potential development in the Air Transport System.  On 3rd February 2009 the European Parliament adopted the “Queiro’s report”.
The report underlines the potential socio economic benefit of small aircraft providing a point to point mobility and time saving for business. Furthermore, it has recognized the growing gap between the demand and capacity of the current air transport system, and that big airports are less and less accessible for small aircraft. The  report also insists on the importance having SESAR considering in the ATM picture a increased use of small aircraft. Small aircraft are a viable complement to the existing air transport system. Transportation by small aircraft can be an answer to the increasing demand for transport and mobility.


A Small Aircraft Transport System for inter-regional mobility can be foreseen. This should be based on the following transport vehicles:

  • small fixed wing aircraft,
  • small helicopters,

and the adoption of the following business approaches:

  • air-taxi operations,
  • regular scheduled flights on inter-regional routes by small aircraft and commuters,
  • use of small and local airports,
  • use of aerodromes (grass airfield, sea and lakes),
  • inter-modal traffic: airline – small airplane – car.
The Small Air Transport for inter-regional mobility offers additional mobility (door-to-door/point-to-point) to the European citizens. This will stimulate a co-modality approach for the European transport system. This will improve the energy efficiency of all modes of transport according to the European Energy Strategy for Transport. This approach is also relevant for member states to reduce the cost of ground transport infrastructure (e.g. train, roads).

New developments in small aircraft design methods and configurations and in advanced technologies for many subsystems to reduce emissions, noise, operability,   costs and time to market are needed. New developments in avionics, autonomous flight technology and in ATM approaches are needed in order to increase safety. New developments and infrastructure improvements (physical infrastructures and remote ATM control capacity, e.g. virtual towers) are required at the European and national level to improve small and local airports/aerodromes, to increase safety, and reduce emissions.

The SAT-Rdmp study will be a very important tool to support the European Commission in defining appropriate actions and a roadmap to implement the Agenda for Sustainable Future in Business and General Aviation. This was recommended by the EU Parliament Resolution on 3rd February 2009.

The SAT-Rdmp project will use the results from the previous EPATS (European Personal Air Transportation System) project. It will also keep in close contact to the PPlane (Personal Plane System) project funded by the Commission (FP7). Organizations that were and are involved in the EPATS and PPlane projects are involved in SAT-Rdmp. This will prevent a situation that studies are done twice and will ensure that SAT-Rdmp is complementary.