WATM: CAELUM partners with Frequentis to develop South Korea’s UTM market

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South Korean company, CAELUM, has agreed to collaborate with Frequentis on urban air mobility (UAM) and uncrewed traffic management (UTM) solutions in South Korea.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to address the growing need for next-generation traffic management systems capable of handling the unique challenges of UAM technologies, including flexible use of airspace.

“Urban air mobility represents the next frontier of aerospace and defence innovation,” said CAELUM CEO, Michael Kwon. “We are confident that by combining CAELUM’s in-house technologies with Frequentis’ ATM expertise and products, we will be able to deliver a first-in-Korea and potentially first-in-the-world – robust, efficient and safety-oriented UTM system.”

In line with their agreement, CAELUM will also serve as Frequentis’ local partner in the South Korean market. This includes supporting localisation of Frequentis’ MosaiX solution, integration support for aviation and transportation centres, and introduction of solutions to new regional markets.

Frequentis’ Vice President New Business Development, Guenter Graf, noted that with the UTM market growing working in partnership with organisations is key to leveraging growth in this sector. “We are pleased to be discussing the next steps in our collaboration with CAELUM to support the integration of ATM and UTM in Korea,” he said.

Kenya Airways subsidiary to scale urban air mobility with 40 eVTOL order

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Fahari Aviation, a Kenya Airways Subsidiary and Eve, a start-up backed by Embraer, have agreed to scale up urban air mobility (UAM) with an order of up to 40 eVTOLs for both passenger and cargo traffic.

The agreement includes joint studies through a working group to develop and scale the UAM market and a business model for cargo drone operations in Kenya. The project is expected to start deliveries in 2026.

“Urban air mobility is the future of transport and we are honoured to be the champions of this in the region,” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director & CEO Kenya Airways. “The journey to realise the dream of eVTOL vehicles in Kenya is on course and the partnership with EVE UAM, is a key achievement for us as part of the strategy to adopt new technologies as a growth strategy for the sustainable development of Africa.

Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve, added that this collaboration marks a new chapter of the Eve and Fahari Aviation partnership to further develop and support the ecosystem for UAM in Kenya. “Last year, we announced a collaboration to develop operational models for Fahari Aviation’s key markets and today’s announcement confirms that it is evolving successfully,” he said.


Skyports teams up with SITA to deploy digital solutions for its vertiport locations

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Vertiport infrastructure specialist Skyports, has tasked SITA with providing its digital solutions for Skyports’ vertiport locations.

Initially SITA’s technology will be implemented at the Skyports Cergy-Pontoise vertiport testbed in Paris, which is planned for completion in September 2022 to demonstrate the full passenger journey, from arrival at the vertiport terminal to eVTOL aircraft departure. The collaboration will highlight the ease with which passengers can navigate the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) ecosystem.

AS part of the parternship SITA will apply its expertise in airport technology to the emerging AAM industry to develop bespoke biometric and vertiport technology in line with Skyports’ vision for the passenger experience. Passenger autonomy, ease and convenience are all central to the success of the industry and the widespread adoption of AAM. SITA’s biometric solution, Smart Path, will enable eVTOL passengers travelling with Skyports to enjoy a seamless, technology-driven experience throughout their journey. They will be able to book and reserve eVTOL flights via a mobile app powered by SITA’s biometric capabilities. Once at the skyport passengers will then be able to use SITA face pods to identify and verify themselves before boarding an aircraft.

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports commented: “AAM has presented us an opportunity to re-imagine the entire travel experience, from the vehicles we use and energy sources we rely on, right down to the way passengers book and check-in to flights. We are partnering with SITA to move into this next crucial stage in the planning and development of the AAM industry – defining the experience for end-users. Everything we do at Skyports is underpinned by the belief that there is a faster, smarter, more streamlined way to travel.”

He also noted that to make AAM work there needs to be a demonstrable benefit to the end-user. “Hence the passenger experience is fundamental to our success.”

SITA will also provide an automated scheduling solution to support Skyports’ airside operations. So, once a passenger requests a booking, a flight slot will automatically be secured at both departure and destination, ensuring the aircraft is operationally ready and waiting when the passenger arrives. It will also ensure that all the resources needed to support that flight and ensure on-time departures are in place.

Sergio Colella, President of Europe at SITA added: “With Skyports, we have the potential to use existing airport technology to totally redesign the passenger journey, with a light-touch process using just your mobile or facial biometric to complete the various steps in the journey. Together we will also work with existing airports to support AAM solutions in the future.”

The coming months will see Skyports begin passenger experience trials at its Cergy-Pontoise vertiport testbed facility, Europe’s first operational testing site for AAM, which is being developed in partnership with Groupe ADP.


Planes have airports but eVTOLs now have an Urban-Air Port

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Monday 25 April saw UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones, Urban-Air Port, open Air-One – a world-first demonstration of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

With Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) predicted to become a trillion-dollar market within the next two decades the launch of Air-One heralds a tipping point for the age of zero-emission, low-congestion urban transport.

Situated in a car park in Coventry, a short walk from the city centre’s main train station and surrounded by busy roads and a built-up urban environment, getting Air-One up and established has been no feat. Addressing media and delegates attending the official unveiling of his vertiport, Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port Founder and Chief Executive, said the project had been a truly collaborative effort. He credited his entire team of 25 staff, as well as the UK Government, Supernal and Hyundai (who are working with Urban-Air Port to develop plans for AAM, including eVTOL aircraft), Coventry City Council and Coventry University for their support in the establishment and unveiling of Air-One. The international business division of Munich Airport is also closely cooperating on the launch of the infrastructure to help ensure the project becomes a blueprint for future vertiport developments.

“From design, through to fabrication and now into operation, Urban-Air Port has delivered Air-One in just 15 months, setting the standard for deployment globally and opening up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility,” said Sandhu.

Introducing his Chief Development Officer, Stuart Bloomfield, to the audience Sandhu also proudly noted that “the order book already contains orders currently valuing £65 million.”

The circular shaped “vertiport” or “urban air port” as Sandhu prefers to call it is a 1,700 sq.m. structure featuring a take-off and landing platform in the centre that can be raised up and down to launch eVTOLs, such as air taxis, as well as drones. In the departure/ arrivals area surrounding the landing platform, passengers and customers will be able to browse carefully selected, sustainable fashion brands and enjoy sustainably sourced food as well as beverages at the Urban Air-Port cafe. Electric charging points for cars will be featured in the car park, so that those dropping off passengers or collecting deliveries can charge their vehicles while waiting.

“Our non-aeronautical brand, Urban-Air Choice, is key to our model. We want customers to come and charge their cars here, grab a coffee and use our app to purchase the brands being showcased here so it can then be dispatched by drone delivery,” Sandhu tells Regional Gateway.

Despite a booming market and a strong pipeline of eVTOLs entering commercial operations this decade, the lack of ground infrastructure remains one of the single biggest barriers to growth, according to analysis by NASA. Air-One demonstrates how purpose-built ground infrastructure can unleash the potential of AAM to decarbonise transport and cut air pollution and congestion, whilst providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

Urban-Air Port is accelerating plans to develop 200 vertiports worldwide with infrastructure already planned elsewhere in the UK, the US, Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South East Asia.

Designed to be highly flexible and to cater to different markets, Urban-Air Port vertiports can be deployed at short notice to enable drones and other eVTOL aircraft to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people in disaster situations such as floods or earthquakes. They can also be operated completely off-grid using on-site hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission generation technology.

The company’s revenue model is based on offering varying models ranging from simply purchasing Urban-Air Port infrastructure, through to a full-service offering that includes site-specific design development and ongoing operations and maintenance for their ground, air and digital infrastructure solutions.

Flights of large cargo drones by Malloy Aeronautics, as well as Skyfarer and West Midlands Police, were demonstrated during the launch.

“Our vision is that AAM and Urban-Air Port infrastructure will be so integrated into our built-up environment that you won’t even see it. They will be like a train station or bus stop – immersed in a city environment, on rooftops, on rivers, city boxes. The cool thing is that this technology and this infrastructure will mitigate drones flying everywhere, as there will be key points to fly to and from. It will become normalised,” Sandhu concluded.

Skyports invests in London heliport for future eVTOL operations

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Skyports, the UK drone delivery and urban air mobility (UAM) infrastructure company, has acquired a helicopter terminal in the UK capital to repurpose for its own future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) operations.

One of only two operational heliports in the city, Falcon Heliport is located in East London just minutes from the financial district in Canary Wharf. It will now operate as Skyports London Heliport and will continue to serve the existing helicopter market until the mid-2020s.

The deal is part of Skyports’ acquisition strategy of securing, developing and operating a network of vertiports to enable the transition to emissions-free aviation in the UK and further afield. In 2021, the company unveiled plans to develop a vertiport in Brent Cross in North London and is working on sites in the US, France, South Korea and Singapore.

Damian Kysely, head of Europe & Middle East at Skyports, said: “The acquisition demonstrates our ambition to deliver a network of operational landing sites for eVTOLs and our commitment to making the UK a leader in decarbonisation of domestic aviation. The heliport also provides us with an important live operating environment in which we can safely develop and test our vertiport systems, collect operational data and mature our vertiport technologies.”

First drone delivery from within a Canadian airport takes off from Edmonton

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Canada’s first drone delivery operation from within an airport has taken off from Edmonton Airport (EIA), marking a major step forward for the modernisation of supply chains.

The Sparrow drone from Drone Delivery Canada (DDC), for which Air Canada Cargo is the official agent, flew from the airport’s Operations Facility to a site in Leduc County and is the first time this activity has been approved by NAV Canada. It is expected that the Sparrow drone will soon be carrying commercial cargo packages on behalf of clients Ziing Final Mile and Apple Express.

With airspace around all Canadian airports highly restricted, any drone activity is forbidden without proper authorisation. The approval from NAV Canada follows months of EIA and DDC working alongside the Canadian ANSP to create approvals and safety procedures to make this and future drone operations possible.

“At EIA our mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Our national leadership in integrating drone technologies at an airport is giving birth to a new sector in drone logistics,” said Myron Keen, VP, Air Service and Business Development at Edmonton Airport.

“The integration of these sustainable technologies is the precursor to the enablement of advanced air mobility, and it lowers barriers for the movement of goods and in the future, people.”

DDC’s President and CEO, Michael Zahra, added:”We are entering a unique time in transportation history as we move towards a future that suggests an entirely new landscape of opportunities for the global supply chain.”

To ensure public safety, some of the restrictions on the drone flights include that it cannot fly over populated areas, and its flying height is limited. As the project continues to be tested and further safety requirements are met, the goal is to conduct longer flights that can become delivery flight paths.

Skyports joins forces with Royal Mail to pioneer drone deliveries to Isles of Scilly

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Royal Mail has teamed up with Skyports, as well as DronePrep, the University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services, Consortiq Limited and Windracers Limited to provide better connectivity to the Scilly Islands’ remote communities, using autonomous scheduled drone flights.

The Government-funded project will initially focus on helping the fight the pandemic by delivering crucial PPE and testing kits to the islands’ most vulnerable and remote communities.

A large, twin-engine, UK-built UAV from Windracers Limited will be used to carry mail  from the mainland to the islands, and is able to fly in poor weather conditions, including fog, potentially enabling Royal Mail to better serve remote island communities. A smaller Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTO) drone operated by Skyports will then fly parcels between the two islands for delivery to recipients.

The project unites two pioneering companies – Windracers and the drone delivery arm of air mobility company Skyports – for the first time. It will showcase how UAVs of different sizes could be used to complement each other in the future.

Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St. Mary’s by the twin-engine UAV, which can carry up to 100kg worth of mail at a time – equivalent to a typical delivery round. A smaller VTO drone, operated by Skyports, will then be used to transport items to a number of delivery points throughout the islands.

The UAVs will complement existing forms of transport for mail to the Isles of Scilly and if the trial is successful, the technology will be considered by Royal Mail to help identify opportunities to support postmen and postwomen in delivering to very remote areas and addresses across the UK.

The trial will also examine fuel efficiencies that the drones could provide, as part of the company’s continued drive to reduce emissions associated with operations.

“Drone technology has already proven its value as part of a network, bringing essential items such as mail or medical equipment to remote regions. Working with world-class partners such as Royal Mail, our team at Skyports has conducted a number of successful delivery programmes across the UK and beyond. It’s very gratifying to be part of this new project, using cutting-edge technology to connect communities and make a real difference to people’s day to day lives,” said Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports.