Lift off for Air-One in month-long demonstration

By Charlotte Turner |

Today marks the official opening of ‘Air-One’, a world-first demonstration of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles – such as air taxis – and autonomous cargo drones, heralding a new age of zero-emission, low-congestion urban transport, according to UK-based developer Urban-Air Port (UAP).

 

As reported, TRBusiness and m1nd-set showcased a UAP worldwide exclusive at the Travel Retail Consumer Forum last September, where TRBusiness had the unique opportunity to quiz the company about the project live on stage.

 

Founder + Executive Chairman Ricky Sandhu joined Chief Retail Officer – and experienced industry executive – Keith Hunter for a fireside chat with TRBusiness e-zine Managing Editor Luke Barras-Hill in the closing session, ‘Reimagining Travel: where Hollywood Meets Reality’ of the Travel Retail Consumer Forum.

 

Just prior to the inaugural TR Consumer Forum, Noel Philips – aviation expert, acclaimed travel vlogger and media commentator – met with Sandhu and Hunter to discuss the futuristic and sustainable travel hub. Philips then shared a film with his millions of followers across his social media networks. [click here for the Facebook video and reaction from Philips’ followers].

 

Founder + Executive Chairman Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port.

Founder + Executive Chairman Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port said the opening of Air-One is ‘the starting gun for a new age of transport’.

“In state-of-the-art facilities, with digital experience enabled, our brand partners will be able to establish a global retail network under the Urban-Air Choice umbrella,” Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, UAP told TRBusiness in an interview earlier this year.

“In state-of-the-art facilities, with digital experience enabled, our brand partners will be able to establish a global retail network under the Urban-Air Choice umbrella,” Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, UAP told TRBusiness in an interview earlier this year.

200 VERTIPORTS PLANNED WORLDWIDE

Urban-Air Port – backed by the UK Government and supported by Supernal – will operate Air-One in the heart of Coventry  for at least one month. Air-One will provide a blueprint for more than 200 vertiports planned worldwide by Urban-Air Port over the next five years to meet growing demand.

 

“The advanced air mobility (AAM) market is set to take off, with forecasted growth of 9%  annually to reach USD $1 trillion within the next two decades,” said UAP. “Despite a booming market and a strong pipeline of eVTOLs entering commercial operations this decade, the lack of ground infrastructure remains one of the single biggest barriers to growth, according to analysis by NASA.”

 

 L-R: Ricky Sandhu, Founder + Executive Chairman, UAP; Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, UAP; Noel Philips, aviation and travel reporter and vlogger; and moderator Luke Barras-Hill, Managing Editor, TRBusiness e-zine.

L-R: Ricky Sandhu, Founder + Executive Chairman, UAP; Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, UAP; Noel Philips, aviation and travel reporter and vlogger; and moderator Luke Barras-Hill, Managing Editor, TRBusiness e-zine.

Air-One aims to demonstrate how purpose-built ground infrastructure can unleash the potential of AAM to decarbonise transport and cut air pollution and congestion, whilst providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

 

Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port, said: “The opening of Air-One is a momentous moment – the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, congestion-free travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before. Cars have roads. Trains have rails. Planes have airports. Now, eVTOLs have an Urban-Air Port.

Urban-Air Port has teamed up with leading brands to demonstrate a retail and food & beverage (F&B) experience under the company’s new retail and F&B brand, ‘Urban-Air Choice’.

Urban-Air Port has teamed up with leading brands to demonstrate a retail and food & beverage (F&B) experience under the company’s new retail and F&B brand, ‘Urban-Air Choice’.

JUST 15 MONTHS IN THE MAKING…

“From design, through to fabrication and now into operation, Urban-Air Port has delivered Air-One in just 15 months, setting the standard for deployment globally and opening up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility.

 

“Air-One is just the first model in our infrastructure fleet and our order-book is not only open but already growing. The interest is turning into recognition of the need for our technology and into demand.”

The UAP team will be out in full force at the month-long Coventry event.

The UAP team will be out in full force for the month-long Coventry demonstration event.

Minister for Aviation, Robert Courts, said: “British innovation has a rich history of transforming global transportation, from the creation of the railroads in the 1800s, to the growth of great British brands such as Jaguar, Triumph and Rover in the 1950s.

 

“The opening of Air-One, backed by Government funding, will revolutionise the way people and goods travel across the nation. This step forward puts Britain at the vanguard of clean transport, bringing investment and high-skilled, green job opportunities to the nation, while levelling up opportunity in the Midlands.”

 

STRONG RETAIL PARTNERSHIPS

As mentioned, Urban-Air Port’ is accelerating its plans to develop 200 vertiports worldwide, and the company’s order book for additional sites is growing, with vertiports already planned in the UK in the West Midlands and London, and internationally in the United States (Los Angeles), Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South East Asia.

 

As part of its mission to deliver a ‘world-class’ customer experience at Air-One and demonstrate the potential of non-aeronautical revenue streams to support a rapid global rollout, Urban-Air Port has partnered with leading brands – Anatomie, Bottega S.p.A., Eurest (part of Compass Group), LG Business Solutions, Mother and Paul & Shark – to demonstrate a retail and food & beverage (F&B) experience under the company’s new retail and F&B brand, ‘Urban-Air Choice’.

 

Customer choice and fulfilment options abound via the UAP Urban-Air Choice suite of services.

Customer choice and fulfilment options abound via the UAP Urban-Air Choice suite of services.

“In state-of-the-art facilities, with digital experience enabled, our brand partners will be able to establish a global retail network under the Urban-Air Choice umbrella,” Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, UAP told TRBusiness in an interview earlier this year.

 

Mike Whitaker, Chief Commercial Officer of Supernal, said: “Air-One serves as a valuable, tangible asset to helping build stakeholder confidence and trust in emerging mobility technology and supporting systems.

 

A BLUEPRINT FOR FUTURE VERTIPORT DEPLOYMENTS

“The Coventry demonstration is an important first step forward to reimagining how people across the world will move, connect and live. Developing a scalable system to support advanced air mobility operations requires collaboration from all industries and corners of the world.

 

“Supernal’s support of Urban-Air Port reinforces our belief in fusing technology and innovation to enable humanity and society to reach new levels of potential.”

 

As announced in October 2021, Urban-Air Port and the international business division of Munich Airport – one of the world’s leading airport operators – will closely cooperate on the launch of Air-One.

 

This partnership will help ensure that the vertiport project becomes a blueprint for future vertiport deployments in multiple environments and settings.

 

Coventry was chosen for the site due to its location in the heart of the UK – with most parts of the country within four hours of travel – and its historic leadership in the automobile and aerospace industries.

 

A series of public engagement events at Air-One will bring future air mobility to life for the public and form part of Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations.

 

Following the programme in Coventry in Summer 2022, Urban-Air Port will redeploy Air-One to other locations in the UK and internationally to undertake a variety of demonstrations in different environments and settings, establishing the global standard for ground infrastructure.

 

DISASTER EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Urban-Air Port’s vertiports are designed to be highly flexible, catering to four different markets: passenger air taxis, autonomous delivery drones, disaster emergency management and defence operations and logistics.

 

They can even be deployed at short notice to enable drones and other eVTOL aircrafts to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people in disaster situations such as floods or earthquakes and can be operated completely off-grid using on-site hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission generation.

 

Urban-Air Port’ will generate revenue through an infrastructure-as-a-service model, enabling customers to decide the level of service they require.

 

This can include simply purchasing Urban-Air Port infrastructure, through to a full-service offering that includes site-specific design development and ongoing operations and maintenance for their ground, air and digital infrastructure solutions.

 

Air-One is located at Westminster Car Park, in the centre of Coventry (CV1 3fZ). Members of the public interested in attending can sign up for tickets at www.urbanairport.com/aironeevent.

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