Specialist aviation planning consultancy Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO) is to exploring how UK-based vertiport developer Urban-Air Port's ground infrastructure technology can be integrated into airport masterplan projects around the world.
NACO will further support UAP on airport land-use planning, regional vertiport network business modelling, eVTOL demand simulation and surface transport intermodal connectivity modelling. The two companies will also explore special systems for the integration of UAP vertiports to support regulatory pathways for the first use cases of eVTOL flights to/from airports.
NACO recognises UAP's AirOne vertiport technology, experience and proprietary technology as pivotal to the success of the wider adoption of vertiports at airports. UAP forecasts the total market for its vertiports at over $40 billion by 2050, with airports presenting a significant proportion of that market.
UAP specialises in compact and scalable landing/take off infrastructure for drones and eVTOL aircraft. AirOne, launched earlier this month, has a unique multi-stacked hangar that provides an more than eight stand vertiport configuration using 80 per cent less real estate. The MoU with NACO follows the award winning test-bed installation in Coventry where UAP proved its technology to a global audience.
"This is a major milestone for Urban-Air Port in terms of shaping the future of advanced air mobility, but also for us as a business," says CEO Andrea Wu. "We passed the pilot stage with our successful build in Coventry, and we have demonstrated AirOne's commercial and operational viability with our orders from the US and recognition from industry experts and regulatory bodies for safety. NACO is one of the world's best aviation planners and integrators, and as a valued partner I'm delighted it sees such great potential in UAP's technology and its relevance for airports around the world. I'm proud of what the team has achieved and excited to take UAP into its next phase, to enable the first routes to and from regional and international airports, paving the way with the best in the business."
Within its compact footprint, UAP's vertical airfield does the heavy lifting, allowing its aircraft carrier technology to create greater efficiencies in operation and turnaround times. It also provides enhanced safety for passengers and pilots from the special aerodynamic characteristics of eVTOL aircraft seeking certification from regulatory bodies such as the UK's CAA, EASA and the FAA.
The multimodal hub provides aircraft command and control, charging and refuelling, cargo and passenger facilities, as well as elevated take off and landing with 360 degree situational awareness and substantial mitigation of the ground effect and noise associated with eVTOL. This represents all the ground infrastructure necessary to support safer, quieter and more sustainable advanced air mobility.
NACO has been one of UAP's project partners since June 2023. Together they defined eVTOL ground infrastructure requirements for airports and other clients. Ricky Sandhu, executive chairman of UAP, previously worked with NACO on global airport projects while at Foster + Partners.
Sandhu says: "NACO has a deep understanding of the nuances of airport planning and masterplanning, and its experience in optimising operational efficiency for its traditional airport clients is second to none. This is precisely what we believe at UAP for our vertiport clients. Sustainability is core to both of our companies and must underpin the future of aviation in a meaningful way; this is why I'm personally thrilled to be working in closer partnership with the like-minded and immensely talented team at NACO to ensure we advance this sector in a way that is viable and holistically sustainable."
AirOne will support growth in eVTOL operations at airports, ultimately connecting air taxi passengers with onward flights, as well as providing a platform for other intermodal connectivity to support airports' growth and accessibility.
UAP's vertiports can be deployed in urban, suburban and even rural sites, but airports will likely become the first commercial locations.
AirOne is modular and designed to provide safe, secure enclosure for a broad spectrum of climates. It is agnostic to aircraft type and charging/refuelling system, and provides for asymmetry in the corresponding flight schedule of the vertiports, in sync with the airports' main operations, so there are no limits to its global potential.
"We are thrilled to be exploring the possibilities around electric flight such as eVTOL with Urban-Air Port," says NACO CEO Esther Kromhout. "The team has a huge amount of experience in developing facilities for this kind of technology, particularly with the launch of the world's first fully operational vertiport in Coventry in the UK, and we look forward to supporting Urban-Air Port by bringing our global experience in airport masterplanning and urban mobility to help develop sustainable air transportation and intermodal solutions fit for the future."