VPorts, a developer of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) infrastructure, has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) Airport to build and operate a first vertiport in RAK designed to establish the UAE as a world-class global AAM hub.
‘‘With the support of the Department of Civil Aviation of Ras Al-Khaimah, we are excited to build and operate the first vertiport at Ras Al Khaimah Airport. This project will enable all AAM partners to accelerate the adoption and deployment of advanced air mobility in RAK and throughout the UAE,” said Dr. Fethi Chebil, President and Founder of VPorts. “This project is aligned with RAK’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Strategy 2040 and with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, to achieve at least a 30% savings in electricity consumption and a 20% contribution from renewable energy by 2040,” said His Highness Eng. Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al-Khaimah. “We are committed to supporting the VPorts project and to enable AAM-related innovation and technology and know-how capacity building in the UAE and in RAK.”
VPorts’ initial growth strategy is based on the regional transportation of goods, tourism and the efficient movement of patients, organs for transplants and medical equipment. The RAK vertiport, which will be established on a 10,000-square- metre site, will be designed for all types of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. VPorts’s vertiports will be opened for all eVTOLs manufacturers.
Ralf Schustereder, CEO, Ras Al-Khaimah Airport stated that “Ras Al Khaimah Airport is pleased to sign this agreement with VPorts to set up a vertiport in our airport. RAK Airport is aiming to be a leading enabler of RAK’s economic and tourism growth. This project will position RAK Airport as part of a development plan and key player in advanced air mobility in RAK. We will provide VPorts with our full support to ensure its success and prosperity.”
By 2030, VPorts plans to extend its vertiport network to all major industrial areas across the UAE, providing a sustainable transportation solution via eVTOL aircraft. The network will focus on locations that optimize multimodal transportation connectivity, including Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai South, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
In December 2022, VPorts announced the signing a 25-year exclusive lease agreement with the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH), renewable for a further 25 years, to establish a state-of-the-art integrator centre on a 37,000-square-metre site within Dubai South. Development and construction of the centre will start in 2023; it is expected to begin operations and conduct its first flight test in 2024.
With the support of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the world’s first AAM integrator world centre in Dubai will feature a dedicated flight-testing airspace and innovative new technologies . “With our partners, we aim fostering the global growth of the international AAM industry and the certification of eVTOL aircraft,” said Dr. Chebil.
VPorts will deploy its Vertiport Operation Control Centre (VOCC) as part of the AAM integrator world centre in Dubai with the support of the MBRAH and the GCAA. The VOCC will have the capacity to manage air traffic integration and set up communication protocols between eVTOLs, vertiports and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP).
As part of this major undertaking, VPorts will work with an extended partner network to engage with key strategic poles of expertise, including eVTOL manufacturing, flight simulation and training, regulators, air navigation service providers, technology service providers, operators, electric charging manufacturers and urban planners.