Urban-Air Port reveals flurry of retail & F&B partners as Air-One launch nears

By Luke Barras-hill |

A cohort of leading brands in travel retail will touch down in Coventry next month to align with the launch of Urban-Air Port’s (UAP) breakthrough advanced air mobility (AAM) site Air-One.

In a watershed moment for the urban air mobility (UAM) infrastructure sector, Air-One will house the likes of LG, Paul & Shark, Eurest (part of Compass Group), Anatomie, Mother and others, as UAP treads an ambitious path towards the future of travel retail.

Air-One, a base for flying taxis and delivery drones, is currently under construction and will open to the public from 28 April – 15 May.

The brands have partnered with UAP will help deliver a destination experience under the ‘Urban-Air Choice’ platform for travellers visiting its vertiport hubs.

UAP showcased its concept and vision for scaling up the powerful potential of the eVTOL (electric vehicle take-off and landing) infrastructure market in a global exclusive at an in-person event at the TR Consumer Forum in September, hosted by TRBusiness and m1nd-set.

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

RETAIL & F&B MARKET ‘WORTH MILLIONS’

The Air-One site – backed by the UK government, Supernal (Hyundai Motor Group’s advanced air mobility division) and Coventry City Council – will form a blueprint for over 200 similar sites planned by UAP across the world in the next five years, as air taxis and autonomous delivery drones become a reality.

The urban air mobility market is forecast to grow by 9% annually to reach US$12.7 billion by 2027, according to ReportLinker.

Commercial flights are expected to begin this decade, including Supernal’s flying taxi that will enter into commercial operation in 2028.

Some flight operators could see passenger numbers reach 70,000 per day as early as 2030, according to McKinsey & Company.

UAP believes that a huge new market for retail and F&B worth millions of US dollars beckons for brands and their partners, as the company expands its infrastructure in the coming years.

Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer at UAP, shared comments with TRBusiness earlier this year pointing to the huge commercial potential offered by UAP’s vertiports.

An estimate 28 million global passengers could be using the company’s infrastructure in the next five years, says the UK start-up, with UAP vertiports helping to transform the way goods and people are transported around urban areas.

Hunter added: “Urban-Air Port’s vertiports are unlocking an entirely new sector within the travel industry – zero-emission electric air mobility. With that comes the opportunity to develop an entirely novel consumer experience, an experience that allows people to interact with brands and services like never before and – through our app – continue that experience beyond the terminal.

‘A NEW WORLD OF ZERO-EMISSION TRAVEL’

“This gives our customers absolute flexibility and control over every aspect of their journey and any services they require, perfectly complementing their lifestyle needs. It’s a phenomenal opportunity for consumers and brands alike.”

Air-One, the world’s first hub for flying taxis and delivery drones, is set to open in Coventry next month.

Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port, said: “Once complete, Air-One – the world’s first fully operational hub for flying taxis and delivery drones – will spark into life an entirely new world of affordable, zero-emission and congestion-free travel. However, this is not just about getting from A to B, it’s about the journey itself.

“Air-One is so much more than a landing pad for flying taxis and delivery drones. It will deliver a world-class interactive customer experience – one that can be replicated right across the world as we build our network of over 200 sites globally. The partnerships announced today with some of the biggest brands in retail and F&B – and the investment made by them to participate in the launch of Air-One – represent a huge vote of confidence in our future vision and the opportunities it will bring for consumers and brands alike.”

Morag Freathy, Managing Director, Eurest – B&I division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “We’re really excited to be collaborating with Urban-Air Port on the revolutionary Air-One project. As a business, we’re all about breaking boundaries and leading the way on what the future of hospitality can look like, with sustainability at the heart of all that we do. We can’t wait to get started working with such a forward-thinking company.”

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

THE FUTURE OF RETAIL, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT…

Sandro Bottega, President at Bottega S.p.A, said: “The Urban-Air port project is a leap into the future in the name of sustainability. Therefore it is with great pleasure that we’ll be present with our wines at the inauguration event. Let’s toast to the full success of this innovative type of mobility.”

Andrea Dini, CEO and President of Paul & Shark, said: “Zero impact is the mission that we share with the visionary project of the Urban-Air Port as the ultimate travel retail experience, we are glad to have the opportunity to attend the launch of this new revolutionary concept.”

UAP’s vision is tilted towards unlocking a ‘lifestyle retail experience’ that seamlessly blends retail within the passenger journey via a unifying smarphone app.

The app allows travellers to plan their journey and interact with brands aligned to the Urban-Air Choice platform as a natural extension to the physical retail experience (see below).

Each UAP passenger lounge – much smaller than a conventional airport terminal – will offer exposure for brands using interactive screens and virtual/augmented reality, for example.

In this way, UAP says brands are able to remain agile and host interactive campaign-specific content at set times to target the right audiences, with the right messages.

Consumers have the option of ordering products directly to their homes, have them delivered via drone to their local UAP or CityBox drone delivery hub or ‘vended’ by Mother’s smart vending machines using a collection code.

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