Graphic shows where the prototype station will be built and how it’s modular design lends itself to urban settings.


Singapore showcases electric air taxi station

By Ninian Carter

October 21, 2019 - October 25, 2019 - The world’s first “vertiport” for electric aircraft is being built in Singapore’s Marina Bay, as part of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress.

Skyports will demonstrate a Volocopter vertical take-off and landing station, dubbed a VoloPort or vertiport, in Marina Bay during the ITS World Congress in October.

Visitors to the attraction, across the water from the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, will get to sit inside the aircraft on the ground, and experience what the full customer journey would be like, as if they were walking in off the street to take the electric air taxi for a ride. A test pilot will actually take up a Volocopter 2X for a 3-minute solo demo flight on October 22.

The UK’s Skyports and Germany’s Volocopter are joining forces to build the prototype station in a bid to win over the public and air safety regulators, giving authorities and industry regulators a chance to interact with the infrastructure and provide feedback, before hopefully approving a final design.

The companies want to have services up and running in trial cities, such as Singapore, Los Angeles and London, within the next three years, although Citigroup expects designers to keep tweaking the technology and working with regulators until services begin in 2025. Volocopter was recently buoyed by a $55m dollar investment from China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

As technology improves, particularly with lithium-ion batteries, urban air transport is becoming a realistic and affordable proposition. The likely cost of a ride is about $2.35 per kilometre – cheaper than a limousine but double the cost of ground-based ride-hailing services like Uber.

PUBLISHED:11/10/2019; STORY: Graphic News; ADDITIONAL ARTWORK: Handouts/Google Maps