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Archerfield joins Greenbird air taxi push

written by Hannah Dowling | March 17, 2022

Embraer has also partnered with Uber Elevate to develop its aptly named DreamMaker eVTOL vehicle. (Embraer)

Archerfield Airport is the latest industry body to join the league of Greenbird, an industry collaboration platform focused on supporting the establishment of advanced air mobility (AAM) solutions – or air taxis – in Australia, as a founding ecosystem partner.

The Brisbane-based metropolitan airport, based 11 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD, will help propel Greenbird’s goal to see a fully functioning air taxi system in place in the Queensland capital ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.

According to Greenbird, Archerfield’s location, situated between the main three proposed zones for Olympic and Paralympic events, presents a prime opportunity for Brisbane’s future AAM transportation network.

Under the partnership, Archerfield has committed to providing appropriate aviation infrastructure for the airport to operate safely and efficiently in Queensland’s emerging air taxi ecosystem, and to accommodate further growth in the space.

Archerfield Airport general manager Rod Parry said, “Archerfield Airport supports the growth of new and emerging technology and opens its doors to the possibility of urban air mobility.

“Our collaboration with Greenbird aligns with our objectives for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.”

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“Archerfield Airport Corporation is excited to support the development of AAM in Australia,” added Archerfield’s business manager, Elita Huynh.

“We believe in the continued investment of research, safety and connectivity for our customers. Our collaboration with Greenbird illustrates our commitment towards new and emerging technology, and a more efficient future for air transportation.”

Greenbird was established last month by Aviation Projects director Keith Tonkin and AVISTRA managing director Sara Hales.

The platform will work collaboratively towards solidifying Australia’s Queensland-based AAM market by attracting investment into the sector and working with government and regulators to create safe air taxi operations.

Other local and global industry leaders, including Griffith University, Aviator Group, Nautilus Aviation and UK-based Skyports, have also jumped onboard the Greenbird project.

“With the upcoming 2032 Olympics, there is now a deadline and point of leverage for industry attraction,” Greenbird director Keith Tonkin said.

“If action is taken now, Australia could see the deployment of eVTOL operations as early as 2024, with early commercialisation in 2026, early autonomous operations in 2032 and full ecosystem maturity expected around 2035.”

Greenbird is not the only player pushing to see eVTOL operations in Queensland in the coming years.

In December, Embraer offshoot Eve Urban Air Mobility announced it had partnered with yet another Australian company in order to bring electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, commonly known as air taxis, to our shores within the next five years.

After making a number of similar announcements last year with Melbourne-based companies, Eve shifted its attention to Queensland and partnered with local helicopter tourism operator Nautilus Aviation.

Under the agreement, Nautilus is set to welcome up to 10 of Eve’s eVTOL aircraft to replace part of its current helicopter fleet, and perform tourist flights throughout northern Queensland, including the iconic Great Barrier Reef, by 2026.

Since late 2020, Eve has been working in partnership with Airservices Australia to propose an initial concept of operations (CONOPS) for the flying taxi market in Melbourne.

The CONOPS explored the foundation of new and practical concepts to safely facilitate the introduction of air taxis in Melbourne, and forms one of multiple similar ventures undertaken by Eve around the world to create UATM solutions.

Eve notes that off the back of the Australian government’s support of UATM solutions and the country’s strong aviation safety record, Australia could be one of the world’s first urban air mobility markets.

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