Volocopter and Skyports are combining their expertise with Malaysia Airports to conduct a feasibility study which will examine suitable vertiport solutions and consider factors such as customer flow, demand and how urban air mobility operations will be integrated.

This is the first step of a tripartite memorandum of understanding, which was announced earlier this week and the study will also examine ways to enable the safe take-off and landing of passenger eVTOL aircraft.

The Asia-Pacific region is estimated to have about 45 per cent of the advanced air mobility market by 2035, which equates to $9.5 billion USD, and the collaboration between these companies 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 at the forefront in the region in terms of willingness to implement urban air mobility.

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 future-proof 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.”,

Skyports is the world’s leading advanced air mobility infrastructure provider and in partnership with Volocopter, was the first to build a full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport. It was launched as part of a trial which took place in Singapore in 2019.

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. Skyports currently has infrastructure projects in development elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Europe and North America. 

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.” 

Meanwhile, Volocopter’s role is to assess the deployment of eVTOL aircraft and operations of urban air taxi services from vertiports at LTSAAS. It 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.

Volocopter is taking a holistic approach to UAM, by developing an entire ecosystem that connects the necessary components to offer electric flight in cities. Its track record includes designing and pioneering the first piloted and fully electric air taxi in the world.

Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, added: “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.

“Having expert partners like Skyports and LTSAAS understanding the local needs, is decisive in bringing revolutionary technologies like electric air taxis to new markets.” 

Malaysia Airports is one of the world’s largest airport operator groups in terms of number of passengers handled. It manages and operates 39 airports in Malaysia and one international airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 39 airports in Malaysia comprise five international airports, 16 domestic airports and 18 Short Take-Off and Landing Ports (STOL ports). Its flagship airport, KL International Airport (KLIA) is among the region’s preferred aviation hub.

Apart from operating and managing airports, the Group also drives airport development under its Aeropolis initiative focusing on three core clusters: air cargo and logistics, aerospace and aviation and MICE and leisure. Its flagship airport, KLIA, is currently set up to be a regional distribution centre for eCommerce with the presence of the first global eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub.

Meanwhile, Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (LTSAAS) or better known as Subang Airport is being developed into a preferred aerospace and business aviation hub in the Asia-Pacific region. It is currently the second most preferred in Asia and fourth globally for business aviation MRO.

The LTSAAS Regeneration Plan is centred on the key areas of aerospace, business aviation and urban community airport to further Malaysia’s aspiration in becoming the number one aerospace nation in the region.