Vertiports: The Backbone of Urban Air Mobility

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Step by step, the dream of using aircraft to rise above urban areas and avoid traffic is becoming a reality. However, the development of infrastructure for urban air mobility (“UAM”) will be crucial to industry growth.

Thanks to the increasing number of companies starting to operate in this segment, the development of vertiports has gained significant momentum—attracting both private and public investments. At the same time, the European Union (“EU”) is preparing for this challenge and has already started regulating this sector before it gets out of hand.[1]

WHAT EXACTLY ARE VERTIPORTS?

According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”), the basic definition of a vertiport is “an area of land, water, or structure used or intended to be used for the landing and take-off of Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft.

In other words, vertiports are areas dedicated to groups of electric aircraft that allow advanced services to support urban air mobility of both passengers and goods. Thus, vertiports also include all the tools that enable the implementation of such purposes, such as ticketing systems, secure boarding procedures, and charging facilities.

Vertiports come in three varieties: Vertihub, Vertibase, or Vertipad.[2]

The most important and most complex variant is the Vertihub. A Vertihub is a self-contained structure with several take-off, landing, and parking areas, and maintenance facilities with the possibility of retail sales. The second form of vertiport is a Vertibase. Unlike Vertihubs, Vertibases can be installed on existing roofs, making their construction costs far lower. Finally, the third variant, with the lowest production and maintenance costs, is the Vertipad. Vertipads are also the smallest and have limited function: a Vertipad offers a single take-off and landing area and limited parking or maintenance space.

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