Australian advanced urban mobility (UAM) infrastructure company Skyportz has unveiled plans to create the first series of air taxi vertiports in the country.
Skyportz says it will base Australia’s first string of vertiports in Caribbean Park, a rapidly growing business district in the eastern section of Melbourne, which is expected to generate healthy demand in air taxi and other UAM services. The company is working with several other partners and government agencies to identify adaptable existing structures and new sites for infrastructure construction and to raise funds for the project.
The selection of blossoming Caribbean Park is interesting since it does not – at least at first – prioritize Melbourne’s effervescent central business district. Rather than focusing initially on what some observers considered the obvious neighborhood for vertiport construction, Skyportz seems to be wagering east Melbourne still has sufficient affordable real estate to build future air taxi facilities. The company may see it as a springboard for expansion of UAV services to other parts of Melbourne as activity scales.
Meanwhile, Skyportz believes that its strategy of linking various vertiport and air taxi transport systems will facilitate the creation of larger UAM networks serving ever larger regions – including Melbourne’s suburbs and airports serving the entire area.
“For this industry to succeed it needs to have policy makers pushing the envelope to support new ‘mini airports’ in locations people want to go,” said Clem Newton-Brown, CEO of Skyportz. “With the development of a vertiport in a business park we are breaking the nexus between aviation and airports.”
Skyportz’s announcement on air taxi vertiports in Melbourne follows publication of Australian regulator Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s roadmap for UAM introduction around the nation. Several cities and states have already acted to begin preparing services within two years, with Brisbane ushering in aerial services a bit later. Newton-Brown says that reflects a desire in the country to assume a leadership role in next generation activity.
“Electric air taxis will be a new era in aviation where clean, green and quiet small aircraft can take people to places they want to go – be it work or leisure,” said Newton-Brown. “The Caribbean Park vertiport is the first in a network of sites we will establish in advance of the aircraft becoming operational.”