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New partnership to utilise eVTOL landing ports in Queensland

written by Hannah Dowling | March 31, 2022

More local businesses are joining the push to bring electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, commonly known as air taxis, to Queensland ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.

Air taxi landing start-up Skyportz has announced a new partnership with Queensland-based Sea World Helicopters, which will see the tourism operator begin utilising Skyportz’s growing network of “vertiports” – vital landing infrastructure for eVTOLs.

Skyportz has been working with property owners to establish the landing infrastructure required for the introduction of eVTOL vehicles and air taxis in Australia since 2018, and now has over 400 property partners.

“Many of these are in Southern Queensland and we intend to explore opportunities to connect new vertiport sites with Olympic Games venues in partnership with local and state government,” said Skyportz CEO Clem Newton-Brown.

“The Sea World Helicopters partnership means we have an operational partner now on the Gold Coast to activate our vertiport network.”

John Orr-Campbell, CEO of Sea World Helicopters said, “We intend to be at the forefront of the industry as it morphs into cleaner and quieter electric propulsion.

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“We have existing helicopter landing infrastructure on the Gold Coast which we can activate with electric eVTOL aircraft as soon as they become available.

“We can foresee that many of our tourist operations will be very well suited to electric aviation.”

It comes as a growing industry consortium, Greenbird, also continues to work towards the development of a safe and function air taxi network in Queensland in time for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.

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

It also comes after Skyportz announced a major partnership with car parking provider Secure Parking, which could see an additional 400 landing bases for electric air taxis throughout Australian cities in the future.

According to Skyportz, the changing nature of working environments throughout the pandemic has opened up a new opportunity for inner-city parking providers to repurpose rooftop car parks as “drone ports” for eVTOL vehicles.

Newton-Brown said Secure offers over 50 sites throughout the Brisbane and Gold Coast regions that could potentially be activated ahead of the 2032 games.

He said “there is no doubt” that the aviation industry is headed for a “revolution”, particularly as the federal government grows increasingly interested in testing and supporting emerging aviation technologies.

“It is not going to be the technology which holds up the advancement of electric air taxis,” he said.

“It is having enough operators and access to places to land that will be the impediments to limit the potential for advanced air mobility.

“Skyportz and Sea World Helicopters are focusing on these bottlenecks and creating the ecosystem to attract aircraft manufacturers that want to supply their aircraft to the Australian market,” he said.

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