Skyportz, the Australian eVTOL vertiport developer, has announced plans to expand its footprint in takeoff and landing sites throughout the country. Skyportz, created out of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to convert lost demand for commercial parking spaces into vertiports. In turn, this would provide potential revenue and business opportunities to real estate investors who would otherwise see dwindling returns in the commercial space.
“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,” says 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.”
The company recently announced a partnership with Secure Parking, where it will have access to over 400 rooftops on existing facilities in and around city-center business districts.
“Skyportz is the first vertiport aspirant to actually put the cards on the table with what sites we have access to. We are not focusing on demonstrator landing sites; we are assembling the network of sites that will be needed to make [air taxis] a viable business,” said Newton-Brown.
The company is already making progress with the Australian government to develop regulations and laws surrounding the development and operation of eVTOL landing facilities.
“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.”
Why it matters: Infrastructure is a critical component of making aerial mobility a reality. The COVID pandemic has yet again offered opportunities to create the needed infrastructure as business demand shifts. Expect to see investments like this one around the world as manufacturers begin commercial service and operation of their vehicles.