AirAsia has signed a letter of intent with Skyports to explore and encourage the development of the air taxi infrastructure in Malaysia, starting with the Kuala Lumpur.
To be more specific, the document was inked between Skyports Infrastructure, an advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure developer, and the Advanced Air Mobility unit of AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd, the aviation arm of Capital A Berhad.
In a statement, the airline operator said that this “is an important next step in establishing a fully operational vertiport network in the country.”
AirAsia to develop air taxi infrastructure in Malaysia
It is unclear how (if at all) this factors into AirAsia’s plan to lease some 100 e-VTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft from Avolon’s future fleet of 500 units, all manufactured by Vertical Aerospace.
The units of VX4s coming into temporary possession of AirAsia’s fleet uses an electric powertrain developed by Rolls-Royce that generates 1 megawatt (1,341hp), has a claimed range of 160km, and a top speed of 325km/h while carrying a maximum of 4 passengers as well as a pilot.
As the statement continues, it is revealed that Skyports’ involvement mainly surrounds the advancement of regulatory development by close collaboration with the relevant regulatory bodies and standard-setting organisations.
The planned 1-year partnership will also heavily emphasise 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 ultimately implement a vertiport network in Malaysia.
Captain Ling Liong Tien, Chief Safety Officer and Head of Advanced Air Mobility, said: “Following the announcement of our venture into the urban air taxi service earlier this year, we have been working around the clock to explore its feasibility in Malaysia,”
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“This partnership with Skyports will accelerate the review of the infrastructure including vertical take-off and landing platforms in the country as well as strengthen our potential as a zero-emissions ultra-short-haul air travel provider in Southeast Asia.”
Mr Yun-Yuan Tay, Head of Asia Pacific, Skyports said, “We are excited to be partnering with AirAsia, a powerhouse airline operator that brings great synergy to our work at Skyports. This partnership highlights the steady progress of AAM development and interest in Malaysia and the wider APAC region,”
“With innovative and forward-looking partners like AirAsia, we will be able to take concrete steps towards the realisation of a safe, efficient, and fully-integrated air taxi network which brings real benefits to the people and communities it serves.”
Hmm…Let’s see how this goes.