Air Taxi Landing Sites are Needed for UAM to Take Off. The World’s First Vertiport-in-a-Box™ Released at Paris Air Show
It’s a conundrum common in many advanced technology sectors. In a world full of gas stations, can electric cars be viable without a similar network of charging stations? Which will come first: the air taxi or the vertiport? For Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to become a reality at scale throughout the world, countries will need to rapidly deploy air taxi landing sites. The vertiports are needed even before air taxis receive full certification and permissions around the world- the industry can’t grow or gather sufficient safety data without enough flights, and UAM cannot be profitable or viable without this common use infrastructure.
What companies will be willing to take a risk on building a vertiport, even before air taxi routes are established and permitted?In response to this problem, Australian Skyportz released the world’s first Vertiport-in-a-Box™ design at the International Paris Air Show. The design will “support the rapid development of a network of air taxi landing sites globally,” says a company press release. By making the vertiport cheap and easy to build, Skyportz is hoping that more developers will seize the opportunity to be a first mover in urban air mobility and air taxis.
The vertiport products work a bit like a modular home: they provide a relatively inexpensive modular and turn-key solution that smaller property sites can use to become air taxi landing sites. The first design is an artistic aluminum shell building that harkens back to the iconic design of an Airstream camper. The structure is mall enough to be delivered anywhere in the world in an open-topped shipping container, and is ready for immediate build and delivery, the company says.
Speaking from the Airshow in Paris, Clem Newton-Brown, Skyportz CEO said: “The focus in the industry to date has been on larger vertiports located at existing airports. This is the low hanging fruit which will form the essential backbone of an Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem.”
“However, if this industry is to reach its potential we need to break the nexus between aviation and airports and let private property owners develop their own vertiports. At Skyportz we are focusing on affordable options that property developers can incorporate into new developments or retrofit into existing buildings.”
Lowering the Risk of Being a First Mover
Right now, there is no business model for vertiports. It’s too soon to get government approvals to use them for their intended purpose as air taxi landing sites. Skyportz has tackled this problem head on – lowering the cost and risk of investment by providing a relatively inexpensive solution. The buildings are small, attractive, and can be repurposed while investors wait for regulations to catch up with air taxi technology. The Vertiport-in-a-Box™ products range in price from €99,000 – €235,000 plus fit out.
“Everyone can sense this is going to be big but no-one wants to get burnt by over capitalising too early. What the property industry needs is an entry level step to get a toe hold into the ecosystem. They want something that is small, fixed price and able to be easily installed.”
“With the Vertiport-in-a-Box™ property owners can move fast to show their investors and tenants that they are ready to be part of this revolution – and the vertiport building can be used for other purposes such as a bar or cafe while we wait for aircraft to get certified,” said Newton-Brown.
Skyportz has partnered on the construction and activation of the modular vertiports with a host of specialist companies that will provide weather data, air traffic management systems, booking services, battery charging, last mile logistics and aviation operations.
“The key to this industry is breaking the nexus between aviation and existing airports. We need to develop a network of new vertiport sites if the industry is to reach its potential, and Skyportz is readying the landscape to partner with infrastructure investors,”said Newton- Brown.
The Vertiport-in-a-Box™ concept can be viewed on a desktop in an AR World here.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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