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Skyports to develop UK’s first vertiport testing ground

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Image Credit: Adam Gasson / Vertical Aerospace

Advanced air mobility company Skyports will develop the UK’s first vertiport testbed at Bicester Motion in the county of Oxfordshire this year.

The vertiport is backed by Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge which created the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium in 2022 – a group of British aviation companies that were awarded £9.5 million to demonstrate the feasibility of advanced air mobility in the UK.

Drawing inspiration from Skyports’ existing testbeds in Paris and California, the Bicester Motion vertiport will be used for testing electric low-noise aviation vehicles and pave the way for permanent operations in the future.

“The aviation industry is undergoing a significant transformation fuelled by technological advancements. From advanced aircraft design to digitalisation and connectivity, technology is reshaping the way we think about air transportation,” Skyports CEO Duncan Walker told Zag Daily. 

“The UK, for its part, is contributing significantly to the next generation of aviation with world class technologies and research. And, while the UK won’t be the first to benefit from or scale these operations, there is a lot of work being done on UK soil that will enable this progress globally.”


Accompanied by a 160 square metre passenger terminal, the vertiport will benefit from the strategic location of Bicester Motion. Close to Oxford and the Cotswolds, and under two hours away from central London by road, it’s anticipated that the vertiport will demonstrate how air taxi services can link urban centres with tourism and retail hubs.

“The county of Oxfordshire attracts approximately 30 million visitors annually, who seek its countryside, city attractions, heritage, and retail opportunities. Bicester Village, a luxury shopping outlet, is just down the road.

“Located close to but outside of London, Bicester Motion exemplifies the types of regional or intra-city journeys where advanced air mobility could make a real difference,” Duncan said.

“With air taxi services, we can reduce wait time, so a journey that might take 45 minutes by car would take 10 minutes by air taxi. It won’t completely transform how people live and work in cities – at least not immediately – but it promises to cut times, improve efficiency, and enhance connectivity.”

The vertiport will include a terminal on a plot of nearly half an acre, passenger processing facilities such as control gates, identity validation, verification and screening. It will also see an operations room, a situational awareness module, and an airside area which will comprise a single final approach and take off area.


Electric aviation company Vertical Aerospace will conduct demonstration flights and test key procedures at the Bicester Motion vertiport ahead of its commercial launch.

Skyports anticipates that testing will begin at the end of 2024, and will be carried out at Bicester Motion Vertiport over the next 12 to 18 months as part of the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium.

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