Munich Airport collaborates with Urban-Air Port on eVTOL infrastructure design

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An exciting new collaboration between Munich Airport International (MAI) and Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP) will see the two organisations join forces and share their expertise to develop eVTOL ground infrastructure and airport operations that will facilitate the vertical take-off and landing of electric air taxis, which are expected to be operational by the middle of the decade.

The pairing of the two organisations will also provide a roadmap for efficient and sustainable flight operations.

UAP is currently deploying its ‘Air One’ programme, a fully operational and integrated airport for drones and eVTOL that interlinks air mobility with ground transportation in a multimodal hub. Located in a downstream setting in Coventry, UK, the first Air One is due to open in spring 2022, with the goal of demonstrating an ultra-compact, rapidly deployable, multi-functional operations hub for manned and unmanned vehicles providing aircraft command and control, charging and refuelling, cargo and passenger loading and other associated services.

The aviation industry is constantly evolving. While Urban Air Mobility was a vague vision just a few years ago, this trend is within reach today. We as Munich Airport International see great potential in this new mode of transportation and have developed an advanced air mobility programme to actively shape the future. Partnering with Urban-Air Port allows us to join forces in designing, implementing and operating scalable and sustainable urban-air ports around the world.

Dr. Ralf Gaffal, MAI’s Managing Director.

In addition to the Air One programme, both parties will also partner on longer term projects and opportunities with an initial focus on use cases and markets which are expected to emerge in the next couple of years.

Commenting on how Urban-Air Port is working to develop the full ecosystem to enable air mobility to take flight by building strategic partnerships with mobility and industry partners across the world, Ricky Sandhu, Founder & Executive Chairman at Urban-Air Port said: “This collaboration with Munich Airport International allows us to jointly develop our expertise in airport development and operations. Moreover, we can lay the foundations for a globally integrated urban air transport network. Together, we strive to play a major role in shaping the future of urban mobility and to equip and adapt the aviation industry to meet the needs of the coming decades.”

Skyports proposes vertiport to enable Advanced Air Mobility in London

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Skyports has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Brent Cross South Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Argent Related and Barnet Council in London, UK to develop a passenger air taxi vertiport at Brent Cross Town.

The £7 billion 180-acre development in north-west London, which is being regenerated as a mixed-use park town for the capital, is conveniently located to access central London hence it being selected as a prospective location for the vertiport.

While an interim vertiport could be built at Brent Cross Town as early as 2024, a permanent location would be constructed during the development phases to create the opportunity for electric passenger air taxi services between this and other Skyports vertiports in and around London and the rest of the UK.

“This exciting project is a sign of huge progress within the industry,” said Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports. “The very fact that vertiports are being planned for construction in mixed-use neighbourhoods such as Brent Cross Town demonstrates the direction in which the industry is moving and the increasing confidence in its success. Our in-house team of airport planners, regulatory experts, airspace experts, software and hardware developers remains completely focused on vertiports which are safe, practical and in locations which will make a positive impact on daily life,” he continued.

Welcoming the opportunity to work with Skyports as specialists in the planning and construction of vertiport infrastructure, Andre Gibbs, Partner at Argent Related added that “the vertiport would strengthen transport connections into and out of central London and would complement the new train station, the existing tube links, comprehensive road connectivity and cycleways.”

Skyports will work with Brent Cross Town to share market insights and developments in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry, undertake due diligence on the site and engage with external regulatory bodies such as the UK Civil Aviation Authority and local government to obtain relevant permissions. The Brent Cross Town team alongside Barnet Council meanwhile will provide the local knowledge to allow plans to progress, as well as lead introductions with local stakeholders and contractors, and facilitate access to enable Skyports to undertake any preliminary investigative works.

Skyports builds momentum with vertiport project in Japan

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Skyports has been selected to participate in two upcoming vertiport projects aimed at delivering electric take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLS) in Japan’s Osaka Prefecture.

Skyports has been accepted as one of five organisations to contribute eVTOL expertise to the Osaka Prefecture Super City. The project will see Skyports play a pivotal role in the development of infrastructure and drone delivery services. In addition to working with industry partners on the planning of the network, Skyports aims to have an operational passenger eVTOL vertiport in place by the Osaka-Kansai World Expo in 2025.

“Our knowledge of locating, designing, building and operating infrastructure for air taxis and drone deliveries is second to none. As part of these projects, we are helping Osaka fulfill its vision of becoming an urban air mobility centre in Japan, providing not only a vital facility to support the burgeoning air taxi market, but demonstrating the benefits that drone delivery services will provide to the region,” said Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports. “The fact that we have been selected to contribute to multiple programmes aimed at developing Japan’s AAM ecosystem is testament to the work that Skyports does. We look forward to working with new and existing partners to enable AAM to thrive.”

Ryo Segawa, Industrial Strategy Group, Industry Innovation Promotion Division, Growth Industry Promotion Office, Department of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Osaka Prefectural Government, added: “We understand that it is one of the most important subjects to build a user-friendly vertiport which can be easily utilised by eVTOL manufacturers, fleet operators, passengers, and other parties considering the introduction of eVTOL into society. In this context, we are very happy to welcome Skyports to join Osaka Round Table because they have a broad knowledge and are actively working in this area globally.”

The city of Osaka, alongside Osaka Prefecture, aims to become a model smart city by providing cutting-edge services in multiple fields and implementing bold regulatory reforms, thereby establishing its place as a world leader in advanced technology and a pioneer of city life of the future.

Editor’s comment: Pop-up airport paves the way forward for urban air mobility

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With NASA predicting that urban air-mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500 billion in the near-term, one significant barrier to market growth has been the lack of infrastructure. But could the unveiling of the worldʼs first ʻpop-upʼ urban airport for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft change all that?

London-based aerospace firm Urban Air Port has been awarded a £1.2 million grant from Innovate UKʼs Future Flight Challenge. The programme was established to develop greener aviation infrastructure and systems that will enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.

Set to be launched in Coventry in the UK later this year, the Air-One hub will double as an airport and charging hub for eVTOLs including cargo drones and air taxis. It boasts a physical footprint 60% smaller than that of a traditional heliport and uses a modular construction that enables the site to be installed in a matter of days. It can also be operated completely off-grid and will emit net-zero carbon emissions.

“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports,” pointed out Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban Air Port. “Over a hundred years ago, the world’s first commercial flight took off, creating the modern connected world. Urban Air Port will improve connectivity across our cities, boost productivity and help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy,” he added.

The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has already chosen Urban Air Port as its priority infrastructure partner to support growth of this new sector, with plans to commercialise its own eVTOL aircraft by 2028.

Providing an integrated approach to the decarbonisation of cities, Urban Air Port plans to develop more than 200 sites in the next five years to meet global demand. And with funding now secured for Air-One, Urban Air Port is in discussions with investors to support its rapid commercialisation and growth.

“Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility,” concluded Sandhu.

Taxi to the future anyone?

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway

Header image: Visual representation of the Air-One® site with a Hyundai Motor Group eVTOL in the centre of Coventry. Image Copyright © Urban Air Port Ltd. All Rights Reserved.