Urban-Air Port (UAP) and GKN Aerospace are to develop the ‘Skybus program’, an affordable mass transit solution for urban air mobility (UAM), reports a press release. This partnership is to explore smart infrastructure for UAM, specifically for large, high capacity eVTOL passenger shuttle operations.

GKN Aerospace, a leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier, has recently completed the initial feasibility studies for the Skybus research project. The research project has investigated the potential for a six-rotor, 30-person eVTOL concept to help decarbonise and decongest urban landscapes.

The press release states, “The studies have identified significant opportunities for ‘air buses’ to operate alongside air taxis in future air mobility transport, primarily for intracity and airport shuttle services with the potential to unlock access to more remote areas, such as islands and mountainous regions.”

It goes on, “Integration into urban environments with intermodal transport connectivity is key to the success of Skybus larger-scale passenger transportation and is enabled by Air One’s uniquely compact footprint and patented technologies.”

Cost and feasibility of implementing such a system is a priority as it’s highly dependent on the land area available, where a new eVTOL network introduced into a congested city must consider space efficiency as a priority.

Ricky Sandhu and UAP Team (l-r) Adrian Zanelli, Nick Chrispin, Edson Yabiku (Farnborough Supernal Stand)

UAP’s Air One vertiport constructed at Coventry “is modular by design, scalable and ultra-compact and affords a low CAPEX and OPEX infrastructure that can be tailored to serve larger eVTOLs such as Skybus, whilst continuing to be vehicle agnostic.” This enhanced Air One model includes multiple hangars, multi-level take-off and landing zones and flexible stands “uniquely incorporating a Multiple Apron Ramp System (MARS) for eVTOLs.”

Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port, commented, “By working in collaboration with GKN Aerospace and understanding the functional requirements of Skybus we have defined a tailored version of our Air One model that allows a future of larger eVTOLs to efficiently fit into complex city environments around the world.”

He continued, “We have aligned visions to realise sustainable, scalable and viable advanced air mobility systems to unleash clean, seamless and affordable air travel for all.”

Max Brown, VP Technology GKN Aerospace added, “It will take a range of technologies and collaboration across the whole industry to achieve our net zero goal. Collaborating with UAP on development of vertiport concepts is a great example of GKN Aerospace’s ambition to work in partnership to inspire our customers into new markets, products and technologies.”

UAP offers “a world-class customer experience for passengers in Air One” that includes a full array of products and services from some of the more recognised global retail brands and food and beverage service partners.

Passengers in the lounge area will be able to explore a fully integrated app to browse through “the experiential retail pop-ups” while enjoying food and drink from a café. Such features enable Air One “to fully capitalise on the non-aeronautical revenue potential of Urban Air Mobility.”

UAP and GKN Aerospace are seeking further opportunities for collaboration with the shared goal of making UAM affordable and accessible for all.

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