World's first vertiport for drones and flying cars opens in Coventry

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EDITORIAL USE ONLY General views of the T150 Malloy Aeronautics Ltd drone in flight at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port, Coventry. Issue date: Monday April 25, 2022.
The T150 Malloy Aeronautics drone in flight at the opening of the Air-One vertiport in Coventry on Monday. (PA)

The world's first vertiport - a transport hub for future vehicles like drones and air taxis - has opened in the UK.

The Air-One hub has launched in Coventry and will allow manned and unmanned vehicles to take off and land.

Urban-Air Port, the UK-based developer behind the project, say it will act as a blueprint for more than 200 vertiports planned worldwide in the next five years.

Further sites are planned in the West Midlands and London, as well as in the US, South Korea, France and Germany.

The temporary site at Westminster Car Park in Coventry will also have charging stations for electric vehicles.

Urban-Air Port says its vertiports will be a hub for flying taxis, delivery drones, disaster emergency management and defence operations and logistics.

An artist's impression of the new vertiport project. (Urban-Air Port)
An artist's impression of the new vertiport project. (Urban-Air Port)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Mathi Nithiyananthan prepares the T150 Malloy Aeronautics Ltd drone for take-off at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port, Coventry. Issue date: Monday April 25, 2022.
A drone is prepared for take-off during a demonstration at the new Air-One vertiport by Urban-Air Port in Coventry. (PA)

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircrafts are deemed to be the future of travel.

Police and delivery drones will be the first aircraft to use the site, which has financial backing from the government.

The Air-One project is backed by Supernal, part of the Hyundai motoring group.

The site in Coventry will revert to a car park at the end of the summer when Air-One is redeployed to a new location.

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Those behind the site say it is the first of its kind that is "equipped to handle future electric air travel".

Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port, said: "The opening of Air-One is a momentous occasion - the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, low-congestion travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before.

"The Coventry demonstration will showcase the future of how people will travel, seamlessly integrating with other modes of transport to create a greener, more connected future."

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY APRIL 25 EDITORIAL USE ONLY Urban-Air Port Founder and Executive Chairman, Ricky Sandhu at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port, Coventry. Issue date: Monday April 25, 2022.
Urban-Air Port founder and executive chairman, Ricky Sandhu, at the opening of Air-One in Coventry on Monday. (PA)

Mike Whitaker, chief commercial officer at Supernal, said: "The Air-One activation is an important step for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry and demonstrates how eVTOLs can easily integrate with existing transportation networks to address local needs.

"The reality is no single mode of transportation - current or future - can solve cities' traffic and congestion challenges."

It took 11 weeks to erect the 17,000 square feet site in Coventry, which includes a passenger lounge, a café, a cargo logistics hub, an electric and hydrogen air vehicle hangar, security screening and a command centre.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY General views of the T150 Malloy Aeronautics Ltd drone in flight at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port, Coventry. Issue date: Monday April 25, 2022.
A drone in flight at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port in Coventry. (PA)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Urban-Air Port Chief Technology Officer Alan Jones in the control room at the opening of Air-One by Urban-Air Port, Coventry. Issue date: Monday April 25, 2022.
Urban-Air Port chief technology officer Alan Jones in the control room at the opening of Air-One in Coventry. (PA)

It features a 56ft circular platform that raises 19ft in the sky to enable future electric air vehicle takeoffs and landings.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said: “The opening of Air-One, backed by government funding, will revolutionise the way people and goods travel across the nation.

“This step forward puts Britain at the vanguard of clean transport, bringing investment and high-skilled, green job opportunities to the nation, while levelling up opportunity in the Midlands.”

Inspector Mark Colwell from West Midlands Police said: "It’s an exciting time for the development of police use of drones.

"Drones offer a cost-effective and environmentally way to enhance our force operations.

"As a force we receive over 2,000 emergency calls a day, so the possibility of using drones to innovate the emergency service sector is endless."

Watch: Flying car airport to land in Coventry

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