Ricky Sandhu founded Urban-Air Port in 2019 and today is the company’s Executive Chairman. He has been in the news – a lot – recently after his Urban-Air Port (UAP) ‘Air One’ vertiport infrastructure was on display at Coventry for three weeks.
In partnership with Hyundai’s Supernal eVTOL, the event was a great success leaving the public who attended enthralled, enthused and amazed by what they saw. Below, is a brief profile of this pioneering man who is helping to deliver the future of air flight in to the present.
evtolinsights.com has also published a two part interview with Sandhu, where he discusses the event in depth.
Chris Stonor Asks The Questions.
Describe Urban-Air Port in 5 words
Leading technology-driven vertiport developer
What event first inspired your UAP vision?
When working for Airbus in 2017. The company was developing an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) program. This gave me an insight of what was required: Infrastructure.
Proudest company moment to date
The Urban-Air Port (UAP) team coming together inside Air One for a photo.
What is UAPs vision for eVTOL and the UAM Market?
To enable the industry to take flight, by providing the appropriate ground infrastructure in parts of cities where the demand is greatest. And why technology is so important to unlock these areas by creating a UAM network.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
It starts with a triple shot coffee and usually ends with a Bavarian beer (laughs). Presently, my day includes liaising with our amazing team, advancing different parts of the business, speaking to the media from all over the world, and talking to prospective customers as well as our investors.
How do you relax away from the job?
I relax with my family and kids. I make sure I spend weekends with them. I love walking around Regent’s Park in Primrose Hill and breathing in the fresh air. I live close by. That’s where I get my steps in. I can walk up to 15 kilometres in a day.
Favourite book or film?
A favourite book is Shoe Dog by Nike co-Founder Phil Knight. It really inspired me. I gave a copy to my management team to read.
A favourite recent film is Le Mans ’66 (Matt Damian/Christian Bale) that shows the Ford v Ferrari battle for supremacy at the 1966 Le Mans. It required huge surges of complete re-imagination from Ford to build a race car to beat Ferrari. This is probably my best film of all time.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
My family and I visit Greece quite a lot. Our secret hideaway are the ionian islands. It is not easy getting away given how busy we are, but I have a great team which allows me to take holidays. It is important to recharge the batteries.
If you could invite three guests to dinner (dead or alive), who would they be?
Michael Jordan, definitely, he has been a life-long hero of mine who strives for ultimate perfection. Then Robert de Niro and the third, let me think…(pause)… I know… Andrew Carnegie, the former steel magnet who was one of the richest people in America.
What is your dream car?
That would have to be a classic – The 1977 Porsche 911.
So, not an electric car, then?
There aren’t any good ones, yet.
What are the present top three challenges facing the eVTOL industry?
The financing of it. Certification for eVTOLs. The adoption by cities and consumers.
Most inspiring story about the industry you have read to date?
(After careful thought) Modesty aside, it’s got to be us. For example, we had 150 kids from my son’s north London school, aged from 6 to 8, who came to Air One along with 10 of their teachers. The children were asking about hydrogen, charging, how much would a flight cost… They seemed totally inspired. We did a competition where they could design their own eVTOL and urban-air port, a located street and city. We announced the winners and for the 6 year-olds it was a team of girls. This was a really inspiring exercise for us and a lovely moment.
Most important industry development you think may happen in the next year?
Hopefully, moving the needle towards a fully certified air taxi. Delivering on Urban-Air Port orders to real locations for real clients. These two aspects need to work and move in parallel. We will certainly fulfil our part.
Where do you think the industry will be in the next five years? What are your hopes?
For us, we aim to have several hundred Urban-Air Ports deployed around the world. We hope to see an equalisation of both passenger and cargo eVTOLs flying over some cities with an appropriate ground network structure. We will be living in an advanced air mobility world.
How can people get in touch with UAP?
Either via the website where there is a contact button: https://www.urbanairport.com or through our media comms: email@example.com