Creator of drone and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft vertiports, Urban-Air Port, has initiated construction of what is intended to be its first fully-operational next-generation air transport facility in the UK.
London-based Urban-Air Port announced Thursday that it had begun work on the new eVTOL and drone vertiport in the West Midlands city of Coventry. The facility isn’t the company’s first vertiport in the UK, or indeed in Coventry. Last year it assembled and opened a delivery UAV hub that has functioned as a public education showcase demonstrating how various small and advanced air mobility (AAM) services will integrate into daily life. Though it’s still unclear whether that initial unit will eventually transition to full operation, the launch of the new structure was hailed as preparing the future of goods and passenger urban transportation.
“We’re pleased to be working with our partners at Urban-Air Port to showcase this breakthrough system, which in the near future could help to boost productivity in our towns and cities as well as supporting climate change efforts by taking vehicles off the roads,” said Jim O’Boyle, a Coventry official overseeing job creation, regeneration, and climate change. “This is yet another way that Coventry is leading the way when it comes to transport innovation. We are right at the front of the green industrial revolution and this is a brilliant world first.”
Selection of a mid-sized UK city in the middle of the country may seem an odd choice to assemble the first operational eVTOL vertiport. But Urban-Air Port, backing government ministries, and corporate partners like Hyundai say it makes perfect sense.
The location of the hub in a city of 400,000 people, and in proximity to train and intermodal transport links, is considered ideal for testing new drone and AAM services. Coventry is also positioned close enough to London in the south, and large northern cities like Manchester and Liverpool, to enable mid-range intra-urban eVTOL flights. The company is also working with West Midlands Police to build a network of small vertiports for its 46 drone pilots who last year flew 3,450 missions.
Last month Urban-Air Port announced plans to build 200 vertiports for eVTOL air taxi and cargo craft in 65 international cities, and prepare for the rapidly approaching launch of those and other AAM services. It will be backed in that push by Hyundai’s AAM division, Supernal
The company currently has structural models designed for installation on rooftops, beside waterways, and on plots of land. It also has a hyper-urban City Box version under development. Its modular Air One vertiport is slated to open on April 25 in Coventry‘s City Centre, and begin its wait for eVTOL air taxi and other services to launch.
“We are absolutely thrilled to get Urban-Air Port’s Air One on site – this marks a unique and transformative moment where the UK positions itself as the world’s leading player in advanced air mobility,” said Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port executive chairman. “Our technology will enable Coventry and other cities around the country and the world to decarbonize by enabling safe adoption of cleaner mobility solutions. We are grateful to our partners, investors, and the UK Government for adopting our vision and now making advanced air mobility a viable and sustainable reality.”