Future of Air Mobility: Introducing the First-Ever Vertiport at Ras Al Khaimah Airport
In an effort to establish the UAE as a world-class international Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) hub, Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) Airport will become home to VPorts' first-ever vertiport.
This project is not only envisioned to enable RAK’s economic and tourism growth but to accelerate the adoption and deployment of advanced air mobility throughout the UAE as well.
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Vertiports – AAM Becoming a Reality
It is without a doubt that helicopters and aeroplanes have made commutes and the transport of goods faster and more efficient. That said, there is still a whole lot more that can be done in terms of accessibility, safety, and most importantly, the environmental impacts of these aircraft.
eVTOL aircraft, or electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, address these challenges by being compact, electric, quieter, and smarter. With the ability to take-off and land vertically from smaller spaces, it will be easier to reach remote areas or places with limited transportation infrastructure. eVTOLs are also electric, meaning they use batteries and electric motors to power their rotors or engines. This makes them more environmentally friendly and sustainable than traditional aircraft, which typically use fossil fuels.
In other words, eVTOLs have the potential to revolutionise tourism, regional transportation of goods, and the efficient movement of patients, organs for transplants, and medical equipment. But in order for these vehicles to become a staple in communities, they're going to need a lot of places to take off and land.
The RAK vertiport, which will be built on a 10,000-square metre site, will be able to accommodate these eVTOL aircraft regardless of their type and manufacturer. This first vertiport in the city is consistent with VPorts’ global and UAE expansion strategies.
VPorts plans to expand its vertiport network to all important industrial areas in the UAE by 2030 so that eVTOL planes can be used as a sustainable form of transportation. The network would concentrate on areas like Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai South, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah that have the best multimodal transit connectivity.
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Benefits of Vertiports
With the development of vertiports comes the acceleration of AAM-related innovation and technology. These vertiports push forward AAM infrastructures that support the emergence of safe air transportation systems that move people and cargo between places previously not served or underserved by aviation.
Aside from accessibility, some other benefits of vertiports include:
- Efficiency — Vertiports can reduce travel time and congestion by allowing eVTOLs to take off and land more quickly and in smaller spaces. This can also reduce the need for ground transportation to and from traditional airports, further reducing travel time and congestion.
- Sustainability — Vertiports can be designed to be powered by renewable energy sources, further reducing the environmental impact of air transportation. In fact, according to His Highness Eng. Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al-Khaimah, the RAK vertiport will benefit RAK’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Strategy 2040 to achieve at least a 30% savings in electricity consumption and a 20% contribution from renewable energy by 2040.
- Safety — Safety features, including sophisticated sensors, emergency response capabilities, and air traffic management protocols, are incorporated into vertiports.
- Economic development — The development of vertiports can stimulate economic development in the surrounding area by creating new jobs, attracting investment, and improving connectivity to other regions.
Beyond the Horizon
Progress made towards AAM does not stop with vertiports. In December 2022, VPorts secured a 25-year exclusive lease agreement with the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) to establish an integrator centre on a 37,000-square-metre site at Dubai South.
The development and construction of the centre have already begun this year, and it is projected to be in operation and have its first flight tests by 2024.
On top of this, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and MBRAH are backing the AAM integrator world centre in Dubai, where Vports' Vertiport Operation Control Center (VOCC) will be introduced. This centre will be utilised for managing air traffic integration and establishing communication protocols between eVTOLs, vertiports, and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP).
In the months and years to come, expect major advancements in aircraft designs, flight technologies, and airspace operations. Join us at the Airport Show 2023 to learn more about the latest development in the AAM ecosystem, its supply chain, and other transformative airborne technology.
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