Skyports Surges to the Forefront of Vertiport Development for Drone Taxis

“Flying cars” – long considered a Jetsonian sci-fi fantasy – are finally coming to fruition, with commercial operations of two- and four-seat uncrewed aircraft at international airports beginning as early as next year.  A number of leading Silicon Valley start-ups, including Joby, Archer and Wisk have signed agreements with major airlines to provide drone taxis for their passengers, shuttling them between airport runways and downtown launch and landing sites.  Some 200 companies worldwide are also competing to provide the badly needed infrastructure – dubbed “vertiports” – to allow the aircraft to be deployed and stored safely without interfering with ground traffic and piloted airplanes and helicopters.

London-based Skyports, a global leader in vertiport development, has just received a massive infusion of new investment – $110 million – in a Series C round from ACS Group, one of the world’s foremost infrastructure and construction companies.  That makes ACS, which generated a whopping $39 billion in 2023, Skyports’ largest single investor.  ACS is making the contribution through its wholly owned infrastructure development/concessions business Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras S.A., (IRIDIUM), which is dedicated to sustainable and innovative transportation solutions – with drones and air taxis the company’s top priority.

Another contributor to Skyports’ Series C investment round is the Paris-based airport operator, Groupe ADP, which first partnered with Skyports during the company’s Series A funding round in 2019. Since then, the two firms have collaborated in the launch of the first European vertiport testbed in Paris in conjunction with Germany-based Volocopter, Europe’s leading air taxi prototype developer.

In addition, Skyports and Volocopter have recently collaborated on a flight test in Saudi Arabia that was designed to assess the logistical and safety requirements for integrating the company’s drone taxi into Saudi Arabia’s air traffic management system, a prelude to commencing real-world drone passenger operations sometime next year.

Skyports is in the forefront of a number of other burgeoning partnerships to advance the cause of Urban Air Mobility and eventually bring air taxis into the mainstream of mass transportation systems.  These partners include the UK National Health Service (NHS), Equinor, UPS, Royal Mail (for a drone-based postal delivery service in Scotland), Wilhelmsen, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The agreement with the Port Authority, signed just last month, is intended to integrate “middle-mile” cargo drones into the Authority’s maritime, aviation, and transportation operations, with an initial focus on reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions from diesel trucks traveling along the region’s bridges and tunnels.

In addition, Skyposts has just inked a tripartite agreement with the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) and California-based Joby Aviation to establish four vertiport sites located near Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown and Dubai Marina.  These initial locations will link four of Dubai’s most popular – and populous – areas, and will allow Joby’s four-passenger drone taxis to shuttle airline passengers and tourists at speeds of 200 mph across the region, slashing the normal travel time from 45 minutes to just 10 minutes, while enhancing sustainability.

Skyports’ officials say that the bulk of the company’s recent $110 million investment infusion from ACS/IRIDIUM will be used to build out the four vertiports in Dubai ahead of the launch of Joby’s air taxi services by 2026.

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