AirAsia, Skyports consider Malaysian Airports for flying taxis

AIRASIA Aviation Group Ltd. and the UK’s Skyports Ltd. 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 Bhd.’s budget carrier 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 Thursday.

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 don’t have regulatory approval to fly passengers and their range is nowhere near that of standard aircraft built by Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. 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 aircraft-leasing firm Avolon Holdings Ltd. in February to rent at least 100 Vertical Aerospace Ltd. flying taxis, joining the likes of American Airlines Group Inc., Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and Japan Airlines Co.

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