AAM and Vertiports in Australia: Skyportz and Pelligra Partner

Australia first vertiport

Skyportz and Pelligra Partner to Explore Australian Vertiport Network

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Air taxi infrastructure company Skyportz has announced a partnership with property developer Pelligra to explore the joint development of vertiport networks to attract air taxi and drone delivery services to Australia.

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This new Agreement builds on a prior partnership between Skyportz and other property owners such as Secure Parking, an owner of hundreds of inner city car parking sites.

“We have strong policy support from the Federal Government and our air regulator, CASA to develop Advanced Air Mobility in Australia,” said Skyportz CEO Clem Newton-Brown while speaking at the Avalon Airshow. “The front runner electric air taxis will be certified to operate in the next couple of years. 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”.

“With the industrial and commercial property portfolio of Pelligra and the Secure Parking inner city car parking garages we can offer a comprehensive network of vertiport sites in any capital city in Australia”, continued Newton-Brown.

“We are excited by this opportunity to build on the work that Skyportz has been doing for many years”, said Pelligra CEO Ross Pelligra. “We are a nimble, privately owned company with a large portfolio of sites across Australia. In addition to vertiport sites we are passionate about developing a local manufacturing industry for eVTOL aircraft and serving as a base for the Asia Pacific market.”

With a portfolio of more than 1200 projects in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and overseas, Pelligra owns the former Holden and Ford manufacturing plants in Victoria and South Australia with plans to develop high tech hubs.

“We lost our local car manufacturing industry and I would like to see Australia develop an electric air taxi manufacturing capability,” Pelligra added. “The former car assembly plants would be perfect.”

The partnership’s next goal is to focus their resources on a region aiming to become a world leader in Advanced Air Mobility. Though no vertiport network has yet been set up anywhere in the world, several European and American cities are well advanced in their planning.

“Skyportz has assembled the pieces of the puzzle,” said Newton-Brown. “What we need now is to find a State and local Governments that want to support the industry and the investment we want to make.”

Nexa Capital, a USA based consultancy, has assessed the potential return on five use cases in cities like Melbourne to be more than $5 billion within the first 20 years of operations.

“The key to this industry is breaking the nexus between aviation and existing airports,” Newton-Brown explained. “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.”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.