Urban-Air Port signs brand partnerships for vertiport retail sales

Urban-Air Port UAM

In a sure sign urban air mobility (UAM) services can’t be far off, UK vertiport specialist Urban-Air Ports has signed a deal with several retailing brands to provide all the food, drink, and sundry stuff travelers inevitably buy when getting to or from a flight.

London-based Urban-Air Ports announced the deal with several international retailing brands ahead of the April showcasing of its first fully functional vertiport in Coventry, England. Backed by national and local governments, as well as corporate partners like Hyundai, assembly of the new facility began in February, and is expected to be finished next month. Once it is, Urban-Air Ports plans on opening the vertiport up to the public so people can get an idea – and feel – of how UAM transport will be once it’s launched.

Clearly, having ample stuff to buy will be an integral part of that experience – an indication that the transition from traditional planes and airports to Urban-Air Port UAM facilities will retain some familiar touches. Those will include food and beverage (F&B) and retail brand partners like Anatomie, Bottega S.p.A, Eurest LG Business Solutions, Mother, and Paul & Shark being active and visible in the Coventry facility – and the 200 others around the globe Urban-Air Port plans to construct using it as a model.

“Air-One – the world’s first fully operational hub for flying taxis and delivery drones – will spark into life an entirely new world of affordable, zero-emission and congestion-free travel,” said Urban-Air Port CEO Ricky Sandhu. “However, this is not just about getting from A to B, it’s about the journey itself. Air-One is so much more than a landing pad for flying taxis and delivery drones. It will deliver a world-class interactive customer experience – one that can be replicated right across the world as we build our network of over 200 sites globally.”

Meaning, as visitors to the Coventry vertiport will see when it is opened for visiting toward the end of April, next-generation air travel will also feature the ambient allure of consumerism ubiquitous in traditional airports.

“The partnerships announced today with some of the biggest brands in retail and F&B – and the investment made by them to participate in the launch of Air-One – represent a huge vote of confidence in our future vision and the opportunities it will bring for consumers and brands alike,” Sandhu explained.

Because Urban-Air Port vertiports – like all inner-city UAM infrastructure – are designed to fit into the cramped, bustling, central spots travelers will need to get to and from most, the company needed to come up with a way to give retailing partners sufficient room to do business in the tight spaces. The communiqué on the multi-party accord explains how the new facility will do that. 

“(I)t will create a unique retail experience by exposing consumers to brands in novel and engaging ways, such as interactive screens and virtual/augmented reality technology, rather than permanent bricks and mortar shops,” it reads. “The approach enables brands to remain agile, hosting interactive campaign-specific content at opportune times, rather than expensive long-term shop fronts.”

Another work-around to the spatial limits will be creating phone-based purchase and delivery options.

“All brands and products will also be accessible through Urban-Air Port’s app, meaning the retail experience extends further than just the customers’ visit to the physical site,” the release continues. “Consumers then have the option to order products directly to their homes or even have them delivered via drone to their local Urban-Air Port or CityBox drone delivery hub, or ready to be ‘vended’ by Mother’s smart vending machines using a collection code.”

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