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First purpose-built airport for flying cars and eVTOL aircraft to open in UK in April

UK based Urban-Air Port secured new funding from Hyundai’s ‘air mobility’ division

The world’s first fully operational airport designed for urban air taxis will open in Coventry in April, the company behind it said as it secured investment from Hyundai.

UK-based Urban-Air Port said the new funding from the Korean multinational’s Supernal arm will help support plans to develop another 200 ‘vertiports’ for vertical take-off-and-landing aircraft (eVTOL) around the world.

Coventry’s Air-One, which the startup claims is “the world’s first fully operational hub for eVTOLs”, will open for public visits before flights begin.

Acting as a “demonstration” site, it will show how eVTOLs and flying cars can help “unlock the potential of sustainable mobility and how the industry will work to help reduce congestion, cut air pollution and decarbonise transport”, with AFC Energy PLC (AIM:AFC, OTC:AFGYF, ETR:QC8) providing a zero-emission hydrogen power generator for aircraft refuelling.

Understandably in the pandemic, Urban-Air Port pushed the date back a little, having said the site would be open by the end of 2021 and in September saying it would be operational from early this year

“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs need Urban-Air Ports,” said Ricky Sandhu, executive chairman of the company.

The former Foster & Partners architect said eVTOL aircraft offer “unparalleled potential” to revolutionise urban mobility, but the importance of ground infrastructure has generally often overlooked.

“With Supernal’s investment and expertise and connection to Hyundai Motor Group, we can supercharge the rollout of sustainable, intermodal and scalable ground infrastructure that will unleash the future of advanced air mobility globally.”

Sandhu added the company is “assembling a group of aligned financial and corporate venture capital investors” to help fund further growth.

A year ago Urban Air-Port was awarded a £1.2mln grant after being named winner of UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure to help enable the development of electric and autonomous air vehicles.

Supernal, which is the new name for Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility division, aims to invest US$1.5bn in urban air mobility infrastructure by 2025.

There have been various developments in ‘advanced air mobility’ or flying cars in the past year, including General Motors Company unveiling plans for an electric, self-driving, flying Cadillac and a BMW-powered car with fold-away wings completing a first flight between airports before driving off the runway onto the motorway.

In December, Bristol-based eVTOL manufacturer Vertical Aerospace Ltd (NYSE:EVTL) listed in New York after announcing US$4bn of orders from Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines.

Read More: First purpose-built airport for flying cars and eVTOL aircraft to open in UK in April

2022-01-19 18:01:00

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