Skyports and Germany’s Volocopter to showcase infrastructure for flying taxis at Marina Bay
Skyports Ltd, a UK-based global vertiport owner and operator that has announced building the world’s first vertiport for electric aircraft in Singapore as an early step towards a global network for flying taxis is planning to show off the vertical take-off and landing station at Marina Bay during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress from October 21-25, Bloomberg reported.
Skyport’s partner for the project, air taxi pioneer Volocopter GmbH of Germany will also bring along its electric aircraft for a demonstration flight.
Skyports and Velocopter have partnered earlier this year to build the first mobile Volo-Port for air taxis. The companies unveiled plans for the Volo-Port – the physical landing pads for so-called eVTOL (electric take-off and landing) saying the construction of the first such Volo-Port would be completed later this year.
“Receiving the commercial license for air taxi aircraft is a question of time not possibility. We are thus focusing on shaping the necessary ecosystem around UAM including air traffic management, city regulation and the take-off and landing infrastructure”, Alex Zosel, Co-Founder of Volocopter said in the statement in May 2019.
Vertiports are the only physical infrastructure required for air taxis to commence operations in cities in the near future. Volo-Ports are designed to provide passengers with a seamless air taxi experience that is safe, secure, and relaxing. They will merge with their surroundings, allowing passengers and passers-by to see through the whole structure.
According to Bloomberg, while companies are just trying to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities for now, a report from Citigroup said sales of air taxis could reach $5 billion by the end of the next decade. Citi expects designers to keep tweaking the technology and working with regulators so they can start to offer regular air taxi services from 2025. It could be even sooner, with Uber Technologies Inc. targeting launches in Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne as early as 2023. As many as 20,000 electric passenger aircraft could be sold annually by 2030, Citi said in its report last month.
Skyports’ Managing Director Duncan Walker told Bloomberg that helicopters have been around a long time, but they’re not well used, particularly in cities, because they are noisy, dangerous and polluting while his company’s aim is to make it a form of transportation for anybody, not just the extremely wealthy.
He added that the industry first must win over the public and air safety regulators, and that’s what this the upcoming demonstration at Marina Bay is all about. Skyports has first built the Voloport in China and then took it apart to be re-assembled in Singapore near the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the report notes adding Walker is in talks to establish permanent Voloports around the island.
People attending the conference can tour the building, and it will open to the public on October 25, although one cannot expect a Volocopter ride just yet, the report says.
Volocopter spokeswoman Helena Treeck told the agency: “We want to see how the public reacts to it, whether it’s too loud, whether they would feel safe flying in it”.
Citi analyst Pavan Daswani interviewed by Bloomberg on the matter said the demonstration is essential as it shows an infrastructure firm, an aircraft operator and the local government working in concert.