The air-taxi infrastructure hopefuls at Skyportz have expanded their plans to provide eVTOL takeoff and landing sites throughout Australia by partnering an with airport and parking garage that’s looking for a new lifeline. Changes in working and travel patterns triggered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in significantly reduced demand for commercial parking spaces. As a result of this declining demand, downtown and airport parking garages are losing revenue and real estate value, but a new company called Skyportz sees opportunity in this conveniently located infrastructure. They’re going to turn them into vertiports for eVTOL air taxis.
“While there will always be a need for car parking in our cities, it may be that the demand is not going to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Skyportz founder and CEO ,Clem Newton-Brown. “Car parks are ideal locations for Skyportz facilities. They are generally located in places people want to go, and they are constructed to a standard that can take the weight of vehicles on flat rooftops.”
Through a recently-announced partnership with Secure Parking, part of the publicly traded Park24 group, Skyportz will have access to some 400 rooftops on existing parking facilities in and around airports, city-center business districts, as well as suburban shopping areas across Australia.
“Skyportz is the first vertiport aspirant to actually put the cards on the table with what sites we have access to,” Newton-Brown told FutureFlight. “We are not focusing on demonstrator landing sites; we are assembling the network of sites that will be needed to make [air taxis] a viable business.”
Skyportz is already working with Australian federal and state governments to support efforts to develop standards and requirements covering the use of vertiports in the country. Several aircraft manufacturers are making plans for major cities, including Melbourne, to be early adopters of eVTOL air taxi services.