Industry

Published on July 18th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer

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Consortium Join Forces to Bring Advanced Air Mobility to Ireland

*Due to a technical issue, this article was never published in early June*

Skyports, Future Mobility Campus Ireland, Avtrain and Shannon Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish Ireland’s first passenger and cargo vertiport. The partnership will work towards launching an operational vertiport at Shannon’s FMCI campus in 2022, thereby encouraging participation and investment in Ireland’s Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) industry. The long-term goal is the establishment of Ireland’s first air taxi service and routine beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

Those collaborating in this venture are: Skyports, the world’s leading passenger air taxi and cargo drone vertiport provider; Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI), Ireland’s first testbed for future mobility located next to Shannon Airport; Avtrain, Europe’s leading drone training and certification body; and Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre, which supports and promotes one of Ireland’s largest aviation clusters located at Shannon.

The consortium has begun working towards launching beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) proof-of-concept operations as early as September 2021. These flights will demonstrate the viability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and highlight the benefits that research and investment in AAM will bring to urban and rural areas of Ireland.

Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports, said: “This partnership provides a launch pad for Ireland’s advanced air mobility market. To be contributing at this early stage demonstrates the criticality of vertiport infrastructure to the success of the industry.  Participating alongside a group of such high calibre organisations puts us in a strong position to kick-start the project, providing the perfect mix of expertise to make our AAM plans a reality.”

Russell Vickers, CEO at Future Mobility Campus Ireland, said: “Ireland and this region in particular has a huge potential to shape future research and development of Advanced Aerial Mobility. This partnership demonstrates the belief in that potential. Development of a vertiport in conjunction with a UAV testing area provides a natural extension to the capabilities of the Future Mobility Campus. The ecosystem continues to grow thanks to the vision and belief of our partners.”

Julie Garland, CEO at Avtrain, said: “The calibre of the partners in this project ensures its success. The vast experience in training & certification standards, vertiport development, BVLOS drone ops, airport operations and autonomous mobility are a force to be reckoned with in the Advanced Air Mobility market. The location next to Shannon Airport is the epicentre of the aviation industry in Ireland and critical to the future integration of manned and unmanned aircraft. The future is here, onwards and upwards!”

John Drysdale, Business Development Manager at Shannon Group, said: “Collaborating with stakeholders who are experts in their field will provide a robust platform to develop new technologies and innovations in this exciting sector. The Shannon Campus will provide an ideal incubation space within which the future of mobility can be developed in a collegial manner bringing great opportunities to the region.”

Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) is a not-for-profit organisation that was founded with the sole purpose of creating and delivering a future mobility ecosystem and test bed for stimulating research, development and innovation in the area of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Focus areas include Smart City infrastructure, Connected Autonomous Vehicles for both road and air usage, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, big data management and analytics. The testbed is located in the Limerick-Shannon metropolitan area at Shannon Free Zone, Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland.

FMCI is supported by both industry and research partners, the local authorities of Clare and Limerick, and Shannon Group. FMCI is funded as part of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. The fund is an initiative of the Government under Project Ireland 2040 and it aligns with the Future Jobs Ireland framework. It is administered for the Government by Enterprise Ireland.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.



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