AirAsia, via its AirAsia Advanced Air Mobility unit, has recently announced a new one-year partnership with UK urban air mobility infrastructure provider and drone delivery operator Skyports Infrastructure. Through this, both companies have agreed to collaborate and explore the development of air taxi infrastructure in Malaysia, with initial assessments to be conducted in its capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
For some context, AirAsia Advanced Air Mobility is a dedicated unit under the Capital A’s aviation brand that focuses on pioneering the commercial application of emerging techs in AAM (advanced air mobility). These include Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Electric Vertical Take-off & Landing (eVTOL) vehicles which, according to the company, can be utilised to create new revenue streams for AirAsia and to expand ASEAN’s connected network beyond airports.
Skyports Infrastructure, on the other hand, is a London-based firm which promotes AAM services, in addition to the designing, manufacturing and operating the vehicles and infrastructures related to it. The company has projects operating in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, Middle East and the US, with partners consisting of eVTOL and cargo vehicle manufacturers including Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Irelandia Aviation, Levitate Capital, Solar Ventus, and many more.
According to its press release, this newly signed partnership between the two companies is a major step in establishing a fully operational vertiport network for air taxis in Malaysia. Airasia will contribute its aviation expertise and experience as well as its on-ground market knowledge and networks, while Skyports complements its partner’s efforts by providing its global portfolio of designing and building take-off and landing infrastructure for eVTOL vehicles.
AirAsia adds that 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 implement an air taxi network in Malaysia. Neither company mentioned when the initial assessment in Kuala Lumpur is expected to commence.
Capital A’s aviation arm’s efforts in the operationalism of AAM in Malaysia also included the launch of its drone training programme earlier this year, which recently extended to the high-technology related sectors. In addition, it had also announced plans to lease 100 Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL vehicles from Ireland-based aircraft leasing company Avolon, in the interest of exploring the local deployment of air taxis. AirAsia did not specify whether these aircrafts will be involved in the aforementioned assessments.
(Source: AirAsia [press release])