World-first electric Urban Air Port in Coventry secures government backing

Coventyr Urban Airport

A company which is pioneering electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft, has secured a £1.2 million grant from UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge.

Urban Air Port has partnered with Hyundai Motor Group, and Coventry City Council to launch the world’s first site – Air One – in Coventry to demonstrate the potential of urban air mobility for the UK and worldwide.

The programme is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry.

Air-One plans to be a world-first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as cargo drones and air taxis – to be launched in Coventry later this year.

The company behind it, Urban Air Port, provides innovative ground infrastructure as a service for Future Air Mobility. The company was launched by Ricky Sandhu, who is also CEO of Six Miles Across London Ltd, a group of infrastructure-as-a-service businesses which includes urban-Air Port Ltd.

The company plans to install more than 200 zero emission sites worldwide over the next five years in response to global demand.

The government’s Future Flight Challenge has been created to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles. Air-One in Coventry will be a world-first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as cargo drones and air taxis.

Urban Air Port develops fully autonomous innovative zero emission infrastructure for future air mobility. The ambitious Air-One project will bring industry, government and the public together to demonstrate how to unlock the potential of sustainable urban air mobility to reduce congestion, cut air pollution and holistically decarbonise transport while providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has chosen Urban Air Port as its priority infrastructure partner to support the global growth of this new sector. The South Korean company plans to create its own eVTOL aircraft and support the broader urban air mobility eco-system. Hyundai Motor Group is supporting the development of Air-One® as part of its plan to commercialise its aircraft by 2028.

Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port, said: “Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports. Over a hundred years ago, the world’s first commercial flight took off, creating the modern connected world. Urban Air Port® will improve connectivity across our cities, boost productivity and help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy. Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility.”

Pamela Cohn, Chief Operating Officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group, said: “As we advance our eVTOL aircraft programme, development of supporting infrastructure is imperative. Air-One is a unique project that is set to help lead the way in developing a robust, accessible and intermodal infrastructure network for future mobility. We are excited to be part of this partnership in the UK, and look forward to working together to create community impact and opportunity through safe, affordable, and human-centred mobility solutions.”

The physical footprint of an Urban Air Port is 60 per cent smaller than a traditional heliport (the most comparable existing infrastructure). Using innovative construction, the sites can be installed in a matter of days, emit net zero carbon emissions and can be operated completely off-grid, meaning they do not always have to rely on a suitable grid connection.

Berkshire-based drone developer, logistics and engineering company Malloy Aeronautics,  is Urban Air Port’s UK drone aircraft partner. The company’s large cargo drones will be demonstrated at the Air-One site.

Oriol Badia, CEO of Malloy Aeronautics, said: “It is a key goal for Malloy to introduce unmanned air logistics into an urban environment and merge it with supporting infrastructure that is flexible and resilient, hosting intelligent operating systems and state of the art innovation. Air-One provides the ability to service multiple transport requirements of the future – from disaster relief to essential and everyday supplies for citizens across the UK. These are truly exciting opportunities especially with a strong partnership between Malloy and Urban Air Port – thus unifying serviceability and operability, forming a turnkey product.”