Advanced air mobility ground infrastructure group Skyportz has expanded its plans to provide eVTOL aircraft landing sites in Australia. Through a new partnership with Secure Parking, the Melbourne-based company says it could have access to up to 400 additional sites that would include the rooftops of existing parking lots.
According to Skyportz, shifts in working patterns triggered by the Covid pandemic have resulted in declining demand for road vehicle parking, freeing up conveniently located infrastructure for new air taxi services. “While there will always be a need for car parking in our cities, it may be that the demand is not going to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Skyportz founder and CEO Clem Newton-Brown. “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 that can take the weight of vehicles on flat rooftops.
Secure Parking is part of the global Park24 group. It will offer Skyportz access to existing facilities in city-center business districts, as well as suburban areas across Australia.
“Skyportz is the first vertiport aspirant to actually put the cards on the table with what sites we have access to,” Newton-Brown told FutureFlight. “We are not focusing on demonstrator landing sites; we are assembling the network of sites that will be needed to make a viable business.”
The company is already working with Australian federal and state governments to support efforts to develop standards and requirements covering the use of vertiports in the country. Several eVTOL aircraft manufacturers are making plans for cities including Melbourne to be early adopters of eVTOL air taxi services.
“There is strong political support to develop a new era in clean, green electric aviation in Australia,” added Newton-Brown, who is a former Victoria state legislator. “However, we are waiting on federal standards and new state regulations to be developed before we can proceed to build the network. Community support for this new era in aviation is going to be essential and we expect that services will start outside urban areas in the initial phase, with the first electric aircraft becoming operational in the next few years.”