A consortium of companies and organizations have come together in an MoU to launch Ireland’s first passenger and cargo vertiport at Shannon Airport. The parties involved include London-based Skyports, an advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure provider; Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI), a not-for-profit organization tasked with creating a future mobility infrastructure that leverages new technologies in the Limerick-Shannon metropolitan area; UAV system operator and training certification provider Avtrain; and the Shannon Group, a public/private partnership focused on the development of aviation, property, and tourism in the region.
With goals of establishing Ireland’s first air taxi service as well as routine beyond visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operations, the group, which expects to establish an operational vertiport in 2022 at the FMCI campus adjacent to the airport, plans to start BVLOS testing there as early as September. Those tests, it said, will demonstrate the viability of UAVs and illustrate the benefits that AAM development can bring to both urban and rural areas of the country.
“Ireland and this region, in particular, has a huge potential to shape future research and development of [AAM],” said Russell Vickers, FMCI’s CEO. “Development of a vertiport in conjunction with a UAV testing area provides a natural extension to the capabilities of the Future Mobility Campus.”