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Skyports and Bicester Motion unveil plans for UK’s first vertiport testbed for air taxi industry

Skyports Infrastructure (Skyports), the leader in vertiport infrastructure for the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry, has signed an agreement to develop the UK’s first vertiport testbed at Bicester Motion, Oxfordshire, the 444-acre estate dedicated to pioneering mobility technology, past, present and future.

The new vertiport, which will include a compact 160 sq m passenger terminal, will be a critical facility for testing ground infrastructure and flight operations and will play a significant role in enabling the next generation of electric, low noise aviation in the UK.

The vertiport, positioned adjacent to Bicester Motion’s existing general aviation grass runways, will continue the airfield’s long history of aerospace innovation. It will also align with Bicester Motion’s strategic vision to integrate both traditional and vertical aviation operations from its airfield.

Developed as part of the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium and backed by Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge, the vertiport will serve as a key node for early vertiport network planning and demonstrations, as well as for the Consortium’s wider testing programme and public and stakeholder engagement. This will include being flown at by Vertical Aerospace, the global company developing one of the world’s most advanced electric aircraft in the UK, to conduct demonstration flights and test key procedures ahead of commercial launch.

Skyports will aim to open the doors to its UK vertiport by the end of 2024 to align with the AMEC testing programme.

In October 2022, Skyports launched a “Living Lab” terminal in the USA with renowned aircraft partner Joby Aviation. Also in 2022, Skyports inaugurated its European vertiport testbed with Groupe ADP in France. In February 2024, Skyports, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority and Joby Aviation penned an agreement to launch commercial air taxi services in Dubai by 2026.

The UK vertiport design, which has been submitted to Cherwell District Council, has drawn inspiration from Skyports’ existing testbeds in Paris and California.

The strategic location of Skyports’ Bicester Motion vertiport, approximately 1 hour 40 drive from central London by road and close to Oxford and the Cotswolds, will demonstrate how air taxi services will provide a vital link between urban centres, regional, tourism and retail hubs. By air taxi, the same journey will take less than 25 minutes.