Urban and Regional Air Freight – Urban and Regional Air Freight via Electrically Driven Aircrafts

Increasing urbanization and transport services in developed industrial nations push existing transport networks and thus, the strain on the population to their limits. The most pressing aspects are the traffic volume as well as toxic and noise pollution. Furthermore, the demand of short-term delivery of goods to individuals and companies is growing. Recent developments in the sector of electric small aircrafts as well as vertical starting aircrafts offer new solutions to these problems.

Hence, the project URAF aims at the conceptualization and modelling of a “green” logistics chain that is based on local emission-free, electrically driven and low-noise aircrafts. The targeted exemplary testing of the aircrafts and of the required infrastructure within the project will start at an international airport in NRW, reach urban city hubs with the help of landing sites close to the city, and end at the door of the end costumer.

  URAF Abb 1

With the help of this exemplary supply chain, the potential of a local emission-free, electric air freight of the future should be quantified and thereby become utilizable for the industry. The relocation of the flow of goods should support the relief of the road network and shorten delivery times. Our goal is the development of realistic and sustainable, modular implementation strategies to equip NRW for future expanding “green” air logistics in the best way possible.

Within this project, the ISB will examine and analyze the traffic-oriented and urban planning integration of the air chain into inner cities, the transport on the “last mile”, as well as the effects on the regional road network:

  • Analyzing the traffic flows of transport of goods
  • Development of use cases for the utilization of aircrafts
  • Urban planning and traffic-oriented integration of city hubs
  • Green conceptualization on the „last mile“

Associates : Marcus Klatte, M. Sc., Fabian Kühnel, M. Sc., Sarbina Hoenen, M.Sc.,
Alexandra Theißen, Dipl.-Ing.
Funding Authority : Europäische Union – EFRE; MWIDE NRW
Time Period : September 2019 – December 2022


Project Consortium:
VIA RWTH Aachen University
ILR RWTH Aachen University
Frauenhofer IPT
e.SAT GmbH
Flugplatz Aachen-Merzbrück
Köln-Bonn Airport



J. Roesing, I. Lima, E. Feldhoff, S.Hoenen, F. Kuehnel, A. Theissen, 2023.
Identifying requirements for airborne-supplied city hubs