Aircraft platform operator Malaysia Airports has announced its link-up with urban air mobility (UAM) heavyweights Volocopter and Skyports to organize and develop infrastructure and services for the country’s future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi activities.
Volocopter and Skyports assist Malaysia’s eVTOL air taxi development
Under the trio’s memorandum of understanding, Skyports and Volocopter will put their respective experience in vertiport infrastructure design and construction, and air taxi craft manufacturing to work for Malaysia Airports’ drive to launch UAM services. The initial chapter in that collaboration will produce a feasibility study identifying suitable vertiport locations and operational areas of eVTOL craft in Malaysia. Principal criteria in selecting those sites include likely client demand, passenger flows, and the feasibility of integrating new air taxi and medium-haul AAM operations into existing facilities.
According to some estimates, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to represent roughly 45% of the world’s AAM market by 2035, worth nearly $10 billion. In its partnership with Skyports and Volocopter, Malaysia Airports seeks to establish itself early as a leading, innovating player in regional UAM activities. The link-up is being conducted under Malaysia’s five-year plan to modernize the country’s main Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (LTSAAS). Part of that now aims at making the platform a central hub of electric air taxi and other AAM services throughout the country.
“Air taxi technology and revolution is the next big thing that we want to see happen in Malaysian aviation,” said Malaysia Airports CEO, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh. “With LTSAAS offering a synergistic ecosystem within the aviation and aerospace sectors, it is timely for us to explore this new service as it complements other key developments of the regeneration initiative.”
Second Asian partnership for two European eVTOL heavyweights
The project will rely on Skyports’ experience in AAM infrastructure development, and Volocopter’s focus on electric aircraft manufacturing and planned air taxi services, to restructure LTSAAS. The goal is to make it an end-to-end pole of all UAM activity, including research, assembly, manufacturing, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul.
“Malaysia Airports’ ambitions for future proofing Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport and implementing electric air taxi services throughout Malaysia align with Skyports’ ambitions to deliver UAM in the Asia Pacific market,” says Skyports CEO Duncan Walker. “The feasibility study will allow us to explore all the elements needed to create a future air mobility model that could be deployed across the region. Our track record of success with Volocopter, combined with a wealth of experience and Malaysia Airports’ objectives, make this an exciting initiative.”
Indeed, the Malaysian partnership is not the first between the two European companies. The pair teamed up in 2019 to build a full-scale passenger eVTOL air taxi vertiport in Singapore.
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