Ferrovial, the largest shareholder of London’s Heathrow Airport, is positioning itself at the front hand of what is being touted as a revolution in short-haul air travel – developing infrastructure for high-speed, zero carbon aviation.
To develop the design and engineering components of vertiport infrastructure, Ferrovial has partnered with architecture practice Grimshaw and consulting engineer Mott MacDonald.
News of Ferrovial’s plans for vertiports in the UK follows its recent deal to develop a network of more than 10 vertiports in Florida in the USA.
Vertiports provide infrastructure for landing, recharging, and taking off passengers of all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet aircrafts, such as those being developed by Lilium and Vertical Aerospace. The vision is that they will be “integrated into communities and adapted to the surrounding environment, reducing noise impact and improving energy efficiency through innovative design”.
“The partnership between vertiports and eVTOLs will provide high speed, affordable, emissions-free travel to millions of people,” said Kevin Cox, chief executive of Ferrovial Airports’ vertiports business. “This network will boost local economies with a new model of regional connectivity.”
The Spanish construction group operates 33 airports around the world. It has stakes in four airports in the United Kingdom, including a 25% share of Heathrow Airport.
Ferrovial’s UK vertiports would host operations of the Lilium seven-seater electric jets and/or Vertical Aerospace’s piloted four passenger aircraft, the VA-X4, to operate from these sites for the proposed launch of its UK services with Virgin Atlantic.
Vertical Aerospace said that it would work with Ferrovial to locate and design a network of UK vertiports.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive and founder of Vertical Aerospace, said “Our partnership with Ferrovial is an important step forward in bringing the VA-X4 to the skies. Creating the right infrastructure for zero emissions aviation is a critical part in making Urban Air Mobility a reality. I look forward to flying between Ferrovial’s vertiports in the VA-X4 in just a few years’ time.”
In January 2021 Ferrovial announced plans to develop a vertiport network with Lilium in the USA. They signed a framework agreement to develop a network of at least 10 vertiports across Florida.