Skyportz Plans AAM Vertiport In Melbourne Business Park

Constructed using recyclable aluminum, the vertiport is designed to be modular, scalable and prefrabricated.
Credit: Skyportz

Australian startup Skyportz has unveiled plans for the first in a network of vertiports to support advanced air mobility (AAM).

The vertiport is to be located at the Caribbean Park business precinct in Melbourne, Victoria.

Plans for the vertiport were unveiled on Aug. 30 as the Victoria government released an industry vision statement setting out its agenda for harnessing AAM for logistics, emergency services and urban and regional passenger transport.

Skyportz has teamed with Contreras Earl Architects, consultancy To70 Aviation, developer Arup and Melbourne-based helicopter operator Microflite to create a modular vertiport design. Intended for volume production, the design will be adapted to each location, prefabricated and assembled on site.

The startup will seek investors to fund construction of the vertiport, anticipating AAM aircraft entering service from 2024. “The Caribbean Park vertiport is the first of a network of sites we will establish in advance of the aircraft becoming operational,” Skyportz CEO Clem Newton-Brown says.

With publication of its industry vision statement, the Victoria government said the next steps will involve working with stakeholders in 2023 to develop action plans outlining “key responsibilities, deliverables and outcomes” for a methodical approach to implementing AAM.

In particular, Victoria wants to host regional feasibility trials that will “provide opportunities to understand existing regulatory, policy and operational barriers facing AAM operations,” the vision statement says.

Developing a vertiport in a business park breaks the connection between aviation and airports, Newton-Brown says, and will require support from both government and the community. “For this industry to succeed it needs to have policymakers pushing the envelope to support new ‘mini-airports’ where people want to go,” he says. “The community is going to have to see the benefits.”

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.