How can mobility innovations support airports’ accessibility?

The first objective of the MAIA project was to identify the opportunities and risks associated with CCAM and UAM within a multimodal airport access context, with the objective of understanding the current situation and defining the high-level requirements for MAIA solutions.

The partners worked on three main tasks during WP2:

The results from the analysis show that travel times are the key challenge for airport accessibility. Effective solutions should aim to reduce the number of transfers required to reach the airport and ensure travel time reliability. Passengers need assurance that they can reach the terminal in time for boarding.

Additionally, from a strategic airport perspective, it is crucial that any new access mode seeks to reduce GHG emissions (e.g., by complementing public transport rather than competing with it, thereby attracting trips from more polluting modes) and to minimize noise pollution.

The methodology and results of WP2 can be found in the D2.1 deliverable now available in our website:

Stay tuned for more results!

MAIA on the scene: Join the show!

The goal of MAIA is to support the design and implementation of multimodal airport access solutions. The project develops a set of data analytics and modelling tools as a basis for two passenger mobility innovations: shared autonomous vehicle fleets and unmanned aerial vehicle fleets. You can find more information on the MAIA tools in the project’s “about” section.

To shape these tools, diverse perspectives are needed. Indeed, while new smart mobility concepts are flourishing, with a huge potential for the aviation sector, it remains unclear how these innovation can complement existing airport access solutions, and how they can apply to different airport contexts.

We need the new mobility solution developers, their providers and economic ecosystem, the service operators, and the transport organising authorities to come together with the airport operators, the airlines, the infrastructure managers, and the aerial traffic management and service providers, to identify the benefits of mobility innovations for airports’ and air travel’s sustainability and efficiency, and to support the exploitation of these benefits.

Collaborative work: the MAIA workshops

To involve the stakeholders listed above, MAIA organises workshops where research outcomes are presented to collect feedbacks and integrate multiple perspectives in shaping the results.

The first MAIA workshop took place in December 2023 at POLIS offices in Brussels, gathering about 15 participants, with the objective of defining airport access challenges, and the role of mobility innovations in solving them. A list of challenges set up by the MAIA partners with desktop research and a first round of Delphi poll was presented. The inputs collected from existing studies and project results, ranked and completed by experts, were discussed in person with airport, airlines, and authority representatives. The outcomes of this first workshop were included in the project deliverable on Challenges and Opportunities of Mobility Innovations for Airport Access.

MAIA 1st workshop introduction
MAIA 1st workshop exchange outcomes

The second MAIA workshop will be organised in Autumn 2024, with the aim of presenting the status of the newly developed tools (MAIA-ENGINE, MAIA-CCAM, and MAIA-UAM), validating their relevance, and discussing how they can be applied to cover the specification of the case studies.

The concept outline of the MAIA tools will be detailed, already built with the inclusion of multiple stakeholder perspectives, using a seed in a snowball sampling technique (meeting seed stakeholders to ask them if they miss additional stakeholders). The discussions with key stakeholders will lead to define plausible scenarios for the use of the tools, including the roles potentially assumed by each stakeholder, the updated list of high-level requirements, the description of required physical infrastructure for implementing the tool, and the description of the business model behind it.

Stay tuned to join that key workshop!

MAIA promotion at key events to ensure optimal results exploitation

In addition to engaging stakeholders in shaping the solutions developed in the project, MAIA partners spread the word on the work conducted to ensure its integration into common European research and innovation efforts. In this regard, several occasions were used to present the project objectives, status, and connect with the right audience.

A first opportunity was taken after just 6 months in the project, at the Tomorrow Mobility World Congress in Barcelona in November 2023. POLIS Network showcased there the key role of MAIA in supporting not only airport connectivity with urban centres, but also innovation development in terms of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) use case tests and implementation. In the heart of a crowded mobility innovators’ and smart cities’ community, this first public appearance supported the promotion of the MAIA first workshop and the connection with key players of the UAM emerging ecosystem.

UAM panel session at TMWC 2023

A second opportunity was seized at the POLIS Conference at the end of November 2023 in Leuven, Belgium, to underline the relevance of the tools developed in the project within global transport network. A presentation by the MAIA coordinator, Nommon, highlighted the role of airports in TEN-T urban nodes and the necessity of a better multimodal integration, connecting both SESAR-funded projects MAIA and MultimodX. Attended by many local authorities from the POLIS Network and beyond, as well as transport operators from diverse modes, this session contributed to engage stakeholders on mobility innovations and integrated planning.

Nommon introducing MAIA at the POLIS Conference 2023

At the same moment, MAIA was also brought to the attention of a wide audience of air traffic management stakeholders and aviation research and innovation projects at the SESAR JU Innovation Days 2023 in Sevilla, Spain. Through a dedicated poster, the project methods, objectives and first results were exposed in a common area with related initiatives, supporting networking and key outcome exchanges.

Another opportunity seized by the project partners was the Autonomy Mobility World Expo in Paris in March 2024. In this occasion, the Val D’Oise Department in France exposed their innovation testbed around the Bourget airport, and how stakeholder collaboration supports UAM development in the Ile de France Region. Collaboration with the department led to the involvement of MAIA in another event in France at the end of March 2023, the Conference on Advance Aerial Mobility, focused on the future of aviation in the country. The representation of MAIA through a dedicated stand promoted innovative airport access solution development as well as key innovative use case for UAM services, and led to new contacts for the project, in particular with heliport operators.

MAIA and MUSE stand at AAM conference in Cergy, France, on March 28

Finally, the latest MAIA appearance on the public stage was at the Amsterdam Drone Week in April 2024, where POLIS organised a session on local authorities’ UAM strategy development, and promoted the project use case and external experts’ advisory board. Connections were made with the Paris Airport at this conference, as well as with the Province of North Holland introducing the innovation community around the Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Intense and fruitful three days to be followed with involvement to improve the MAIA outcomes in the close future, hopefully!

POLIS introduction of the UAM meeting in Amsterdam, April 18, 2024

While active cooperation has been widely started and fruitful with other projects, the SESAR community, and stakeholders from diverse modes and parts of the transport system, as well as the aviation traditional stakeholders and innovation players, the MAIA project is always looking for more involvement. We are especially looking for network managers’ feedback on our tools, and airports’ collaboration on the scenarios we are defining. Finally, we need support from airlines on how to develop the best tools for a better service to their passengers.

Interesting in joining?
Our External Experts Advisory Board is still open, and the next workshop is coming in a few months!
Just check our contact page and reach out to improve airport operations and multimodality with us!

MAIA 1st Stakeholder Workshop – Connecting air and city grounds

Mark your calendars for 4 December in Brussels, where stakeholders will gather at the POLIS Network offices to explore the future of airport access and passenger mobility during the first MAIA Workshop.

The first MAIA workshop is a stakeholder workshop — participants will dive deep into identifying airport access challenges and the role of mobility innovations in solving them. During this event, case studies will be defined and a dynamic exchange of ideas will be encouraged.

The MAIA partners will present the results of their first investigations in terms of airport accessibility state of the art. In the last months, they have appiled spatial analytics techniques to open data sources (e.g., Open Street Maps, GTFS feeds, etc.) to analyse current accessibility conditions in a variety of European airports. This analysis is now being enriched with desk research on the planned interventions for improving accessibility. The research includes a Delphi poll engaging experts from the External Experts Advisory Board and beyond. In the first round, experts are asked for completing and ranking the challenges identified in the previous research. The second round will happen after the workshop to confirm or infirm views shared in the first round.

During the workshop, the MAIA consortium will expose challenges observed and needs for improvement, as well as best practices and potential for collaborative learning. The audience will dive into sustainability aspects, as well as smart connections and user-friendliness.

This workshop is not exclusive to the MAIA’s stakeholder engagement group; the project does indeed extend an invitation to external experts who share their passion for redefining airport access and passenger mobility.

Save the date, Register, and Prepare to come along on this journey to reshape the future of airport access. Your insights and contributions will be invaluable in navigating the path forward.

Time: December 4, 10:30-16:00 CET

Place: POLIS office, Rue du Trône 98, 1050 Brussels


Start timeEnd timeTopic
10:3010:450- Welcome
10:4511:151- MAIA Introduction
11:1512:452- Challenges for airport accessibility
12:4513:30Lunch break
13:3015:003- The role of connected autonomous vehicles and Urban Air Mobility in airport accessibility
15:0015:454- Workshop wrap-up