Skyports Infrastructure has signed an agreement to develop the testbed at Bicester Motion, Oxfordshire, a 444-acre estate dedicated to pioneering mobility technology

The new vertiport, which will include a compact 160m2 passenger terminal, will be a critical facility for testing ground infrastructure and flight operations and will play a significant role in enabling the next generation of electric, low noise aviation in the UK. 

The vertiport, positioned adjacent to Bicester Motion’s existing general aviation grass runways, will continue the airfield’s long history of aerospace innovation. It will also align with Bicester Motion’s strategic vision to integrate both traditional and vertical aviation operations from its airfield.

Developed as part of the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium and backed by Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge, the vertiport will serve as a key node for early vertiport network planning and demonstrations, as well as for the Consortium’s wider testing programme and public and stakeholder engagement. Vertical Aerospace will use the new facilities to conduct demonstration flights and test key procedures ahead of commercial launch of the eVTOL it is developing in the UK. 

Skyports aims  to open the doors to its UK vertiport by the end of 2024. The UK vertiport design, which has been submitted to Cherwell District Council, has drawn inspiration from Skyports' existing testbeds in Paris and California. 

The strategic location of Skyports’ Bicester Motion vertiport, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from central London by road and close to Oxford and the Cotswolds, will demonstrate how air taxi services will provide a vital link between urban centres, regional, tourism and retail hubs. By air taxi, the same journey will take less than 25 minutes.

Duncan Walker, chief executive officer, Skyports, said: “Our vertiport at Bicester Motion is ideally located to serve as a central hub for the UK’s advanced air mobility industry. 

“The facility will be employed by Skyports and our strategic partners to test and refine all aspects of our ground technology and operations within a UK context. This will also be a key location for early demonstration flights in the UK and will help to pave the way for permanent operations in the future.”

Skyports’ new vertiport at Bicester Motion will include:

A compact terminal, constructed on a plot of 0.42 acres (0.17 hectares), to showcase vertiport infrastructure’s efficient nature and highlight the capacity for seamless integration into urban landscapes, where space is at a premium, and facilitate fast passenger throughput.

Passenger processing facilities which will include access control gates, weight and balance optimisation, and identity validation, verification and screening. The addition of a dedicated passenger lounge will demonstrate a comprehensive customer experience, Skyports said

An operations room equipped with Skyports’ suite of Vertiport Automation System (VAS) technology, which will feature a bespoke resource management and scheduling module, to enable high throughput aircraft agnostic operations

A situational awareness module to provide visualisation tools for comprehensive airspace and vertiport perimeter monitoring. The airside area will comprise a single final approach and take-off area and one stand.

The vertiport is intended as a central hub for AAM in the UK
The vertiport is intended as a central hub for AAM in the UK Skyports/ Bicester Motion