The UK Is Gearing Up for Its First Vertiport Testbed Before the End of this Year

Skyports is building a vertiport testbed at Bicester Motion 6 photos
Photo: Skyports
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With major eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) makers close to the finish line in terms of aircraft certification, it's time for the industry to focus heavily on setting up the infrastructure and overall ecosystem for upcoming electric air taxi operations. In the UK, Skyports is ahead of the game through a partnership with one of the most luxurious locations for advanced mobility technology of all kinds – Bicester Motion.
The UK is gearing up for its first vertiport testbed experience as soon as this year. The names behind this ambitious project are Skyports, an eVTOL infrastructure developer with a global footprint, and Bicester Motion, an exclusive hub for mobility technology "past, present, and future" that aims to also become the first "experiential automotive resort."

This particular location also has a strategic advantage in terms of its connection to the center of London and proximity to Oxford and the Cotswolds. It currently takes almost two hours to drive from central London to Bicester Motion. By air taxi, the same journey would be reduced to less than half an hour.

Bicester Motion is providing one of the best possible locations for this pioneering initiative. The future vertiport will be built next to the Bicester Motion general aviation grass runways as part of the massive 444-acre estate at Oxfordshire. The basic structure includes a compact terminal covering 0.42 acres (0.17 hectares), an operations room, a situational awareness module, and passenger facilities, including a lounge.

All of this will help mimic the exact ecosystem of future air taxi operations. For now, the vertiport will only serve to test eVTOL operations, including all ground-based procedures and flight-related operations. Skyports will also provide the Vertiport Automation System (VAS) technology for scheduling and managing resources. As for the situational awareness module, it will be equipped with the necessary visual tools for high-performance monitoring of the vertiport itself and the airspace.

The passenger facilities will also be designed to replicate the exact experience of future air taxi passengers. Skyports says it will use the feedback to "refine" its offer. Above all, this pioneering facility is set to become the location for some of the first flight demonstrations in the industry.

It's not the first initiative of this kind for Skyports. In fact, this UK-based infrastructure project is modeled after the company's previous infrastructure projects in Paris and California, launched in 2022 (the US one was developed in collaboration with eVTOL maker Joby Aviation). And Skyports didn't stop there in its ambitious global expansion. Together with Joby Aviation, it's also linked to the upcoming launch of commercial air taxi services in Dubai in 2026.

The UK's first vertiport testbed project is supported by Innovate UK through its Future Flight Challenge.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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