Property developer Ross Pelligra has teamed with air taxi infrastructure company Skyportz to develop vertiport networks in Australia.
The partnership was announced at the biennial Avalon Air Show near Geelong in Victoria.
Skyportz and Pelligra hope to attract air taxi and drone delivery services to Australia by exploring options for building vertiport networks.
Skyportz chief executive Clem Newton-Brown said the technology for the aircraft was already developed and the next step was the infrastructure.
“The frontrunner electric air taxis will be certified to operate in the next couple of years,” Newton-Brown said.
“We now need the vertiport sites and if Australia can establish a launch vertiport network we will be in a position to attract the first of these clean, green, quiet aircraft to Australian skies.”
Newton-Brown said that regulation and government support was already in hand.
“We have strong policy support from the federal government and our air regulator, CASA, to develop Advanced Air Mobility in Australia,” he said.
While a vertiport network has not yet been established anywhere in the world, many European and US cities have been actively planning networks.
The partnership will focus on finding a region or city to set up what will be the world’s first vertiport network.
Melbourne is a promising location with US consultancy Nexa Capital including it as one of five potential locations in its assessment of potential returns.
It found that those potential returns could exceed $5 billion within the first 20 years of operation.
“The key to this industry is breaking the nexus between aviation and existing airports,” Newton-Brown said.
“We need to develop a network of new vertiport sites if the industry is to reach its potential and Skyportz is readying the landscape to partner with infrastructure partners such as Pelligra.”
One potential site for a vertiport, Carribean Park in Melbourne, was announced last year while the company has also said it will look into creating vertiports near venues in Brisbane to move athletes around during the 2032 Olympic Games.
Skyportz has existing partnerships with property owners including Secure Parking, which owns hundreds of parking sites within several urban hubs.
Pelligra has a portfolio of more than 1200 projects in Australia and overseas and director Ross Pelligra has built a solid reputation as a developer willing to try new ventures.
The developer owns the former Ford and Holden car factories in Victoria and South Australia and Pelligra believes Australia can replace its car manufacturing with air taxis.
“We lost our local car manufacturing industry and I would like to see Australia develop an electric air taxi manufacturing capability,” he said.
“The former car assembly plants would be perfect.
“In addition to vertiport sites, we are passionate about developing a local manufacturing industry for eVTOL [electric vertical take-off and landing] aircraft and serving as a base for the Asia-Pacific market.”