The Australia-based startup Skyportz has partnered with Secure Parking, a car parking provider, to add 400 landing bases for electric air taxis. The landing bases, otherwise known as “drone ports”, will most likely be established in cities within Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales to promote advanced air mobility throughout Australia.
In Australian Aviation, Skyportz CEO Clem Newton-Brown said “while there will always be a need for car parking in our cities it may be that the demand is not going to bounce to pre-pandemic levels. Car parks are ideal locations for Skyportz facilities. They are generally located in places people want to go and they are constructed to a standard which can take the weight of vehicles on flat rooftops.”
He also told Avionics International that the key to an air taxi network was “access to a multitude of landing sites.” He further shared company plans to open up to potential regional franchises throughout the world shortly.
With Skyportz working with property owners to establish the landing infrastructure needed for the introduction of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, the company is focused on introducing a range of Skyportz locations. Aside from existing helipads and airports, other locations include business parks, shopping centers, industrial sites, and more.
When it comes to the timeline for setting up landing bases, it all depends on a State-based planning approval process. This is to ensure alignment with regulatory requirements. “When an OEM chooses a launch city, there are years of work required to first get the policy and regulatory changes required and then to source the property partnership,” explains Newton-Brown, in Aviation Today. “Our Federal government has committed $30M to advance the industry, and we are partnering with several OEMs to develop concepts of operations in Australia, hopefully with the support of this fund.”
Recently in October, Skyportz had also signed an agreement with US manufacturer Electra for the purchase of up to 100 hybrid electric short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft. Additional purchase agreements for more eVTOLs are expected to be finalized soon.
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