Kuala Lumpur/London/Bruchsal, 21 July 2021 – Malaysia Airports announced today that it has signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Skyports, the world-leading designer and operator of vertiport infrastructure for electric air taxis, and Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). As a first step, the parties will combine their distinct aerospace and aviation expertise to conduct a feasibility study examining suitable vertiport solutions to enable the safe take-off and landing of passenger eVTOL vehicles, considering factors such as demand, customer flow, and how to integrate UAM operations.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to capture around 45% of the advanced air mobility (AAM) market by 2035¹, translating to $9.5 billion (USD). The outcome of this venture will be a game-changer in terms of air travel offerings. The collaboration forms part of the five-year Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Subang (LTSAAS) Regeneration plan. It will explore the deployment of revolutionary electric air taxi services at LTSAAS as well as other locations throughout Malaysia, putting the country amongst the leaders in the region in terms of willingness to implement UAM.
Malaysia Airports’ Group CEO, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, said: “Air taxi technology and revolution is the next big thing that we want to see happen in Malaysian aviation. With LTSAAS offering a synergistic ecosystem within the aviation and aerospace sectors, it is timely for us to explore this new service as it complements other key developments of the regeneration initiative. Volocopter and Skyports are both leaders in their respective fields of advanced air mobility and we hope to further futureproof LTSAAS’s position in Asia Pacific by catering to research, assembly, manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in addition to air taxi operations. Our objective is to provide end to end, mid to high value capabilities and solutions that are anchored by top tier operators.”
“LTSAAS Regeneration will offer various development opportunities to aviation and aerospace players worldwide thus echoing the government’s original intent to turn LTSAAS into both an international aerospace centre and business aviation hub.”
Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “Malaysia Airports’ ambitions for future proofing Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport and implementing electric air taxi services throughout Malaysia align with Skyports’ ambitions to deliver UAM in the Asia Pacific market. The feasibility study will allow us to explore all the elements needed to create a future air mobility model that could be deployed across the region. Our track record of success with Volocopter combined with a wealth of experience and Malaysia Airports’ objectives, make this an exciting initiative.”
“The Southeast Asian Market is one of the largest and most interesting ones for UAM due to its geographical layout and dense population. Our feasibility study will help give us insights on demand, customer expectations, and airport integration, which we can apply to other markets in the region.”, says Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter. “Having expert partners like Skyports and LTSAAS understanding the local needs, is decisive in bringing revolutionary technologies like electric air taxis to new markets.”
Skyports is the world’s leading advanced air mobility infrastructure provider. In partnership with Volocopter, Skyports was the first to build a full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport – the take-off and landing infrastructure for eVTOL aircraft – which was launched as part of a trial that took place in Singapore in 2019. Skyports currently has infrastructure projects in development elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Europe and North America. Among the roles of Skyports in this tripartite MoU includes exploring the development and operations of vertiports at airports operated by Malaysia Airports, which are subjected to the agreed business and development model. Vertiports are areas designed specifically for eVTOL aircraft to take off and land.
Meanwhile, Volocopter is the only eVTOL developer with a product portfolio of multicopter and fixed-wing designs that can be used for passenger air taxis and cargo transportation. They take a holistic approach to UAM by developing an entire ecosystem that connects the necessary components to offer electric flight in cities. Their track record includes designing and pioneering the first piloted and fully electric air taxi in the world. Volocopter’s role is to assess the deployment of eVTOL aircraft and operations of urban air taxi services from vertiports at LTSAAS.
¹ Source: Porsche Consulting, 2018.