The air taxis are still in testing and do not carry passengers, but a vertiport has already been prepared for them. The UK’s Urban-Air Port has opened its first Air One vertiport in Coventry, providing landing space for air taxis and eVTOLs, as well as a transfer facility for future passengers. The vertiport functions as a transport hub, meaning that electric aircraft can charge their batteries at this location in addition to picking up passengers and cargo, but the charging points provided can also be used by passing electric cars.
The airport has been set up in a car park in the city centre and will only be operational for a month, after which it will be dismantled and transported to other regions of Britain where it will do the same job as in Coventry, namely to show the public how a real eVTOL airport works. The Air One model is therefore not yet a fully-fledged vertiport, nor can it be for the time being, as air taxis that can carry passengers are still awaiting approval or are being tested in various parts of the world. However, parcel delivery by drone is already at an advanced stage, with several companies already offering this service and others planning to launch it after successful trials. Unmanned electric aircraft can also help rescue work and paramedics/police, and the proper operation of many aircraft will be greatly facilitated by centres such as Air One.
Charging facilities and the development of stations for transferring passengers and cargo will make logistics manageable in larger cities, at least this is the goal with the construction of Air One, which Urban-Air Port plans to implement in at least 200 other cities over the next five years.
The company designed, manufactured and built the Vertiport in just 15 months with the help of Coventry University and, according to Mike Whitaker, head of Supernal, which is sponsoring the project, the centre will play a major role in boosting investor confidence in eVTOL transport and demonstrating how to rethink the mobility system for urban residents.