Wearing its increasingly large hat as a next-generation advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure builder, Skyports has struck a partnership with French air industry IT specialist SITA to outfit its future vertiports with digital services facilitating passenger use of air taxi transportation.
UK-based Skyports said its partnership with SITA will provide a variety of digital applications that will help passengers benefit from future air taxi transport, both before they arrive at vertiports and during their movement through them to departure. The first generation of the linked tech solutions will be built into the Paris-region Cergy-Pontoise airport that’s currently being adapted as France’s first electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft hub.
That Skyports-overseen vertiport prototype is central to French efforts to launch initial air taxi services during the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, which is looking likely to be the first in the world. Though the Cergy-Pontoise facility is intended to serve as a trial operation for many other AAM hubs to be built across France and beyond, Skyports intends for the infrastructure, operation, and tech experience to be characteristic for what follows in its wake.
“To make AAM work, there needs to be a demonstrable benefit to the end-user… the passenger experience is fundamental to our success,” said Skyports CEO Duncan Walker. “Advanced air mobility has presented an opportunity to reimagine 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.”
In assisting Skyports in that, SITA will dig deep into its prior airport and air transport IT work to develop a chain of applications to accompany passengers through the entire air taxi experience – from booking flights, to accessing and transiting vertiports. Those will be centered around a tailor-made biometric system SITA will develop for all Skyports infrastructure.
Passenger journeys will begin by reserving air taxis or other AAM services using a mobile app powered by SITA’s Smart Path biometric solution, whose linked face pod terminals at at Skyports vertiports will automatically verify traveler identities.
Meantime, SITA will design an automated scheduling program to interface with Skyports’ air traffic operations. As a result, once a client requests a booking, a flight slot will automatically be secured at both departure and destination locales, ensuring the aircraft is ready and waiting to leave when the passenger arrives.
In addition to aiding Skyports prepare for what still seems like sci-fi air taxi travel between futuristic vertiports, SITA’s involvement in providing the tech required in that should enable its smooth transition from a purely traditional air transport player to a pioneer in nearing AAM activity.
“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,” said Sergio Colella, president of Europe at SITA. “Together we will also work with existing airports to support advanced air mobility solutions in the future.”