Shannon Group, the owner of Shannon airport, along with Skyports, Future Mobility Campus Ireland and Avtrain have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Ireland's first passenger and cargo vertiport. The partnership will work towards launching an operational vertiport at Shannon's Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) campus in 2022, thereby encouraging participation and investment in Ireland's advanced aerial mobility industry. The long term goal is the establishment of Ireland's first air taxi service and routine beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations.
Those collaborating in this venture are: Skyports, a passenger air taxi and cargo drone vertiport provider; Future Mobility Campus Ireland, Ireland's first testbed for future mobility located next to Shannon airport; Avtrain, Europe's leading drone training and certification body; and Shannon Group's International Aviation Services Centre, which supports and promotes one of Ireland's largest aviation clusters located at Shannon.
The consortium has begun working towards launching BVLOS proof-of-concept operations as early as September 2021. These flights will demonstrate the viability of unmanned aerial vehicles and highlight the benefits that research and investment in AAM will bring to urban and rural areas of Ireland.
Shannon Group business development manager John Drysdale says: “Collaborating with stakeholders who are experts in their field will provide a robust platform to develop new technologies and innovations in this exciting sector. The Shannon Campus will provide an ideal incubation space within which the future of mobility can be developed in a collegial manner, bringing great opportunities to the region.”
Skyports CEO Duncan Walker adds: “This partnership provides a launch pad for Ireland's advanced air mobility market. To be contributing at this early stage demonstrates the criticality of vertiport infrastructure to the success of the industry. Participating alongside a group of such high calibre organisations puts us in a strong position to kick-start the project, providing the perfect mix of expertise to make our AAM plans a reality.”
Future Mobility Campus Ireland CEO Russell Vickers comments: “Ireland and this region in particular has a huge potential to shape future research and development of advanced aerial mobility. This partnership demonstrates the belief in that potential. Development of a vertiport in conjunction with a UAV testing area provides a natural extension to the capabilities of the Future Mobility Campus. The ecosystem continues to grow thanks to the vision and belief of our partners.”
Avtrain CEO Julie Garland concludes: “The calibre of the partners in this project ensures its success. The vast experience in training and certification standards, vertiport development, BVLOS drone ops, airport operations and autonomous mobility are a force to be reckoned with in the advanced air mobility market. The location next to Shannon airport is the epicentre of the aviation industry in Ireland and critical to the future integration of manned and unmanned aircraft. The future is here, onwards and upwards.”