Skyports and AirAsia have signed a letter of intent to develop an air taxi infrastructure in Malaysia, an important step in establishing a fully operational vertiport network in the country.

Partnerships between traditional aviation players and advanced air mobility (AAM) specialists are essential in developing a practical, studied and integrated network of vertiports.

AirAsia is also actively involved in AAM in Malaysia where in the past year alone, it announced plans to lease 100 Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon, launched its drone training programme, and most recently, extended drone-related training to the high-technology related sectors.

The partnership will draw on AirAsia’s aviation expertise and experience, as well as its on-ground market knowledge and networks, while Skyports Infrastructure brings its global portfolio of designing and building infrastructure for eVTOL passenger aircraft.

Skyports Infrastructure’s work is also instrumental in advancing regulatory development across markets, through close collaboration with local regulatory bodies and standards setting organisations.

Initial assessments will prioritise Kuala Lumpur, where the one-year partnership will focus on joint feasibility studies for integrating air taxi vertiport infrastructure, identifying potential vertiport sites, and developing operational requirements and frameworks to implement a vertiport network in Malaysia.

AirAsia Aviation Group chief safety officer and head of AAM Captain Ling Liong Tien said: “Following the announcement of our venture into the urban air taxi service earlier this year, we have been working around the clock to explore its feasibility in Malaysia.

“This partnership will accelerate the review of the infrastructure including VTOL platforms in the country, as well as strengthen our potential as a zero-emissions ultra-short-haul air travel provider in Southeast Asia.”

Skyports Asia Pacific head Yun-Yuan Tay said: “AirAsia has revolutionised commercial air travel for the past two decades and we look forward to working with Skyports which will put us ahead of the curve and shape the future of autonomous aviation in the region.

“AirAsia is a powerhouse airline operator that brings great synergy to our work at Skyports, and this partnership highlights the steady progress of AAM development and interest in Malaysia and the wider APAC region.

“With AirAsia, we will be able to take concrete steps towards the realisation of a safe, efficient and fully-integrated air taxi network which brings real benefits to the people and communities it serves.”

In May, Skyports and Park24, a Japanese parking lot and car sharing operator, signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and integrate a vertiport infrastructure network in Japan.