Behind the Scenes – Launching the Worlds First Vertiport

Marina Bay perfectly represents modern and dynamic Singapore.  The whole Marina Bay area has undergone rapid and transformational development to become the focal point for visitors to the city, who flock from around the globe to wonder at the inspiring architectural delights that make up the jaw-dropping skyline.

Strolling around the 3.5km waterfront promenade just over a fortnight ago, residents and visitors alike were treated to the latest spectacle to embellish the somewhat futuristic horizon – the VoloPort. For a week from 21 October, the Float, the world’s largest floating stage on the waters of the Bay, played host to the global debut of the first full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport prototype.

The VoloPort, the ground-breaking collaboration between Skyports and Volocopter, was a big draw to the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress, aided by extensive media interest before the week-long showcase even started.

Striking photo of the VoloPort at night

 

The VoloPort opened its glass doors to over 8,000 visitors throughout the five-day showcase who came to experience the passenger journey they could expect from an air taxi journey in the future.

Media frenzy

The VoloPort was unveiled on day one at a press conference attended by some of the regions and worlds biggest and most important outlets, including BBC News, Channel News Asia, The Straits Times, CNBC and Bloomberg.  The coverage of the showcase has been extensive, with the VoloPort featuring in broadcast, print and online pieces in major channels across Asia, Europe and North America.

Skyports hosted over 50 press organisations

 

VIP treatment

On day two, Henrik Hololei, the European Commission’s Director General for Mobility, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the VoloPort.  Later that day, European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc was treated to a tour of the facility and experienced its high-tech features whilst discussing with Duncan Walker (Skyports) and Florian Reuter (Volocopter) the evolution of urban aviation (pictured below).

Left Duncan Walker (MD, Skyports) Middle Violeta Bulc (European Commissioner for Transport) Right Florian Reuter (CEO, Volocopter)

 

A number of representatives from some of the world’s most important aviation regulators and government departments, including the Ministry of Transport Singapore, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Civil Aviation Agency Singapore (CAAS) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) dropped in during the week to witness and explore the type of facility they will be asked to approve in the near future to enable the commercialisation of air taxi services.

Exclusive events

The showcase provided an ideal opportunity for Skyports and Volocopter to discuss some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in commercialising air taxi services in the region’s megacities at a series of events, including two urban air mobility conferences on day three attended by 150 industry leaders and partners, including mayor’s from Asian mega cities.  Each conference was punctuated by panel discussions that included VoloPort sponsors Unifly, AirMap, Nova Systems in addition to Daimler, Bosch and Grab.

A particularly important event for Skyports was a Landlord breakfast, supported by Savills.  Skyports hosted some of Singapore’s largest landlords, who enthusiastically shared their ideas and suitable sites.

Landlords Breakfast in collaboration with Savills

 

Open to the public

When not closed for dignitaries and invitation-only events, the VoloPort welcomed all comers with an interest in touching the future of urban transportation.  From civil servants, students, engineers to entrepreneurs, they were provided with guided tours of the VoloPort, interacting with the high technology on display, including biometric check-in, battery swapping procedures, unmanned traffic systems and a Volocopter 2x which sat centre stage on the take-off and landing pad.  Visitors could also relieve the excitement of the Volocopter flight over Marina Bay which took place on the Tuesday, their first piloted flight in an urban environment.

The public tours were an important engagement exercise to generate feedback from the very people that we expect will want to traverse the city state in the future.  Before leaving the VoloPort, visitors were invited to share their impressions of the prototype and provide suggestions that will inform VoloPort 2.0.

 

Next steps

The VoloPort may have vanished from the water’s edge, dismantled ready for moving to the next launch City, however the spirit of the showcase is very much alive with new launch opportunities and further vertiport sites within Singapore identified.

The Singapore skyline has already undergone a radical transformation over the past 40 years and will continue to evolve with Skyports and Volocopter working towards a fully functioning air taxi network in the next 2-4 years.

 

Interested in bringing the VoloPort to your city? Get in touch