While the focus for the Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty mar­ket has been the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the eVTOL air­craft that will one day fly in our cities, it’s also impor­tant to hear from the com­pa­nies lead­ing the way when it comes to inte­grat­ing the phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture need­ed for take off and land­ing oper­a­tions.

eVTOL Insights caught up with Dr. Fethi Chebil, CEO of Cana­di­an AAM infra­struc­ture provider VPorts, who shared more details on the projects it has been work­ing on, and where its focus lies in the com­ing months.


Q: Let’s start with recent devel­op­ments. VPorts has been active­ly work­ing on devel­op­ing the land­ing infra­struc­ture required in urban areas for eVTOL air­craft. Could you pro­vide us with an update on your recent suc­cess­es?

FC: “Cer­tain­ly. VPorts, head­quar­tered in Mon­tre­al and under my lead­er­ship, has made sig­nif­i­cant strides in this field. One note­wor­thy achieve­ment is the ini­ti­a­tion of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process for ver­ti­ports in South Dubai, with con­struc­tion slat­ed to com­mence next year. Addi­tion­al­ly, ear­li­er this year, we announced plans to con­struct the first ver­ti­port at Ras Al Khaimah Air­port, cov­er­ing a sub­stan­tial 10,000 square feet area.

Q: It’s clear that VPorts is help­ing to play a piv­otal role in shap­ing the AAM ecosys­tem. Can you elab­o­rate on your approach to fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion among key stake­hold­ers, such as reg­u­la­tors, eVTOL man­u­fac­tur­ers, and ANSPs, in order to advance the indus­try?

FC: “Our vision is to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work and ecosys­tem where all crit­i­cal play­ers col­lab­o­rate seam­less­ly. This includes reg­u­la­tors, eVTOL man­u­fac­tur­ers, ANSPs, and charg­ing facil­i­ties. Togeth­er, these ele­ments facil­i­tate com­pre­hen­sive flight test­ing and lay the foun­da­tion for the AAM indus­try’s growth in the UAE and glob­al­ly.

“Since announc­ing the AAM Inte­grat­ed Cen­tre in Dubai, we have wit­nessed sig­nif­i­cant inter­est from UAE-based com­pa­nies. Hav­ing the land to com­mence con­struc­tion next year sets us apart in the indus­try, mak­ing us the sole com­pa­ny active­ly engaged in the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

“The UAE’s reg­u­la­to­ry sup­port enables us to pur­sue this rig­or­ous cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process, cov­er­ing var­i­ous aspects such as ground han­dling, fire safe­ty pro­to­cols, staffing require­ments, and our rela­tion­ship with eVTOL man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

Q: With ongo­ing devel­op­ments in NEOM and part­ner­ships with eVTOL OEMs like Lil­i­um and Volo­copter, Sau­di Ara­bia appears to hold immense poten­tial for Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty. Could you share your insights on this?

FC: “NEOM has issued a Request for Pro­pos­als to deploy their own net­work of ver­ti­ports, seek­ing pre­cise­ly what we’ve suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed in Mon­tre­al. We ini­tial­ly devel­oped a ver­ti­port test­bed in Mirabel and sub­se­quent­ly added inte­grat­ed cen­ters and MROs, ensur­ing air­craft readi­ness and main­te­nance.

“As an indus­try, we must con­sid­er the holis­tic pack­age. VPorts is also estab­lish­ing anoth­er MRO cen­ter in Que­bec City, focus­ing on sup­port­ing north­ern regions and indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties with vary­ing needs and weath­er con­di­tions. In North Amer­i­ca, health­care-relat­ed use cas­es are promi­nent in Mon­tre­al, giv­en its con­cen­tra­tion of hos­pi­tals and research cen­tres, while car­go oper­a­tions in Que­bec are vital for com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tiv­i­ty.

“Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty will enhance cost-effec­tive­ness and effi­cien­cy in this con­text. Alto­geth­er, we antic­i­pate a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nom­ic impact, with net­work devel­op­ments esti­mat­ed to reach $5 bil­lion by 2045, com­pared to the entire cur­rent avi­a­tion indus­try’s val­ue of $1.5 bil­lion.”

Q: What can we expect in terms of your com­pa­ny’s future endeav­ors and expan­sion into oth­er coun­tries?

FC: “Our roadmap at VPorts remains robust, with upcom­ing announce­ments regard­ing expan­sion into oth­er coun­tries in the months ahead. We are pro­gress­ing from con­cep­tu­al images and ren­der­ings to actu­al phys­i­cal struc­tures rep­re­sent­ing the essen­tial facil­i­ties required for eVTOL air­craft ser­vices in cities world­wide.

“We’re engag­ing with elect­ed offi­cials and urban plan­ners, out­lin­ing our projects’ sig­nif­i­cance, their social and eco­nom­ic impact, and their inte­gra­tion into larg­er net­works. Our goal is to serve as an enabler, fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and build­ing ecosys­tems wher­ev­er we ven­ture.”