Vertiport at vanguard of eVTOL mobility in UK

The journey time from Bicester, Oxfordshire to central London could be cut to under 25 minutes with electric air taxis operating from a site being developed by Skyports Infrastructure.

Skyports Bicester Motion airfield view
Skyports Bicester Motion airfield view - Skyports

The company is developing the UK’s first vertiport testbed that will support the take-off and landing of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.

In a statement, Duncan Walker, chief executive officer, Skyports, said: “Our vertiport at Bicester Motion is ideally located to serve as a central hub for the UK’s advanced air mobility industry.

“The facility will be employed by Skyports and our strategic partners to test and refine all aspects of our ground technology and operations within a UK context. This will also be a key location for early demonstration flights in the UK and will help to pave the way for permanent operations in the future.”

The vertiport is being developed on the 444-acre Bicester Motion site as part of the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium (AMEC), which aims to demonstrate the commercial and operational viability of Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) in Britain.

Supported by Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge, the vertiport will serve as a key node for vertiport network planning and demonstrations, plus AMEC’s wider testing programme.

This will include demonstration flights by Bristol-headquartered Vertical Aerospace, with a decision expected on charging infrastructure.

James Bircumshaw, Skyports’ head of acquisitions and partnerships, said electrification and charging is a key area of research and testing for Skyports and the wider industry.

“We’re working with several providers to understand and explore the best solution for our vertiport at Bicester Motion,” he said. “We will share further information at a later date.”

Skyports aims to open the vertiport by the end of 2024, aligning it with the AMEC testing programme. 

The vertiport will include a 160m2 passenger terminal, passenger processing facilities, an operations room equipped with Skyports’ Vertiport Automation System (VAS) technology, and a situational awareness module to provide visualisation of airspace and vertiport perimeter monitoring. The airside area will comprise a single final approach and take off area and one stand.