Skyports Infrastructure, the United Kingdom-based advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure developer, and AirAsia’s Advanced Air Mobility, a dedicated unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (the aviation arm of Capital A), have signed a letter of intent (LoI) to explore the development of air taxi infrastructure in Malaysia.

The partnership between AAM industry expert Skyports, and AirAsia, a traditional airline operator, is an important next step in establishing a fully operational vertiport network in the country, AirAsia said in a statement.

As the industry matures, partnerships between traditional aviation players and AAM specialists are essential in developing a practical, well-studied, and well-integrated network of vertiports, it said.

According to the statement, AirAsia is also actively involved in the operationalisation of AAM in Malaysia. In the past year alone, the company announced future plans to lease 100 Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon, launched its drone training programme, and most recently, extended drone-related training to the high-technology related sectors.

Leveraging the strengths of both parties, the partnership will draw on AirAsia’s aviation expertise and experience, as well as its on-ground market knowledge and networks.

Complementing this, Skyports Infrastructure brings to the table its global portfolio of designing and building take-off and landing infrastructure for eVTOL passenger aircraft.

Skyports Infrastructure’s work is also instrumental in advancing regulatory development across markets, through close collaboration with local regulatory bodies and standards setting organisations.

According to the statement, initial assessments will prioritise Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia.

The one-year partnership will focus on joint feasibility studies for the integration of air taxi vertiport infrastructure, the identification of potential vertiport sites, and the development of operational requirements and frameworks to ultimately implement a vertiport network in Malaysia.

“Following the announcement of our venture into the urban air taxi service earlier this year, we have been working around the clock to explore its feasibility in Malaysia. This partnership with Skyports will accelerate the review of the infrastructure including vertical take-off and landing platforms in the country as well as strengthen our potential as a zero-emissions ultra-short-haul air travel provider in Southeast Asia,” AirAsia Aviation Group Limited Chief Safety Officer and Head of Advanced Air Mobility Captain Ling Liong Tien said.

“AirAsia has revolutionised commercial air travel for the past two decades and we look forward to working with Skyports which will put us ahead of the curve and shape the future of autonomous aviation in the region,” he added.

AirAsia’s Advanced Air Mobility is set up to pioneer the commercial application of emerging techs in AAM; namely unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) to create new revenue streams for the AirAsia brand; and to expand Asean’s connected network beyond airports.

“We are excited to be partnering with AirAsia, a powerhouse airline operator that brings great synergy to our work at Skyports. This partnership highlights the steady progress of AAM development and interest in Malaysia and the wider Asia Pacific (APAC) region,

“With innovative and forward-looking partners like AirAsia, we will be able to take concrete steps towards the realisation of a safe, efficient and fully-integrated air taxi network which brings real benefits to the people and communities it serves,” said Skyports Head of Asia Pacific Yun-Yuan Tay.

Skyports Infrastructure is the leading enabler of AAM, providing the critical link between the ground and the sky. The company designs, builds and operates take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis, and partners with world-class electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers around the world to enable safe, sustainable and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments.

A pioneer in the burgeoning AAM industry, the firm has a diverse portfolio of projects across major cities, including Paris, London and Los Angeles. Within the Asia Pacific region, the company has made steady progress, with ongoing partnerships to assess and develop AAM infrastructure in neighbouring Singapore and Japan.

Skyports investors include Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Irelandia Aviation, Levitate Capital, Solar Ventus, The Goodman Group, Kanematsu Corporation, Ardian, F2i and GreenPoint.

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