AirAsia, Skyports looking at Malaysian airports for flying taxis

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – AirAsia Aviation Group and the UK’s Skyports will jointly explore building landing sites for flying taxis in Malaysia, as tycoon Tony Fernandes looks to expand into the urban air mobility business.

Capital A’s budget carrier, AirAsia, signed an agreement with Skyports to study ground infrastructure and scout potential sites for vertical take-off and landing stations, known as vertiports. The one-year pact will initially focus on building facilities in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, the companies said in a statement on Thursday (July 28).

Interest in electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs, has grown in recent years, with airlines around the world ordering hundreds of them, even though they do not have regulatory approval to fly passengers and their range is nowhere near that of standard aircraft built by Boeing and Airbus. The shift has been hastened by congested cities and mounting pressure on the aviation industry to cut emissions.

AirAsia reached a non-binding agreement with Irish aircraft-leasing company Avolon Holdings in February to rent at least 100 Vertical Aerospace flying taxis, joining the likes of American Airlines Group, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Japan Airlines.

Skyports, which competes with London-based start-up Urban-Air Port, signed a pact with Park24 in May to explore building vertiport facilities and integrate with the Japanese company’s parking and car-sharing network.