Canadian infrastructure developer, VPorts, is stepping up its involvement in the United Arab Emirates’ burgeoning advanced air mobility industry. During the Arab Aviation Summit in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday, the startup signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Airport to build and operate a first vertiport in RAK designed to establish the UAE as a world-class global AAM hub.
The RAK vertiport will be built on a 10,000-square-metre site at the Ras Al Khaimah airport and will be designed for all types of electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The vertiport will initially be dedicated to the transportation of time-sensitive cargo, like goods, tourism, and the efficient movement of patients, organs for transplants, and medical equipment.
“With the support of the Department of Civil Aviation of Ras Al-Khaimah, we are excited to build and operate the first vertiport at Ras Al Khaimah Airport. This project will enable all AAM partners to accelerate the adoption and deployment of advanced air mobility in RAK and throughout the UAE,” said Dr. Fethi Chebil, President and Founder of VPorts.
VPorts plans to extend its vertiport network to all major industrial areas across the UAE by 2030, providing sustainable transportation solutions via eVTOL aircraft. The network will focus more on locations that optimize multimodal transportation connectivity, including Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai South, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
“This project is aligned with RAK’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Strategy 2040 and with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, to achieve at least a 30% savings in electricity consumption and a 20% contribution from renewable energy by 2040,” said His Highness Eng. Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al-Khaimah. “We are committed to supporting the VPorts project and to enabling AAMrelated innovation and technology and know-how capacity building in the UAE and in RAK.”
Back in December 2022, VPorts announced the signing of a 25-year exclusive lease agreement with the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH), renewable for a further 25 years, to establish a state-of-the-art integrator center on a 37,000-square-metre site within Dubai South. Development and construction of the center will start in 2023; it is expected to begin operations and conduct its first flight test in 2024.
With the support of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the world’s first AAM integrator world center in Dubai will feature a dedicated flight-testing airspace and innovative new technologies. “With our partners, we aim to foster the global growth of the international AAM industry and the certification of eVTOL aircraft,” said Dr. Chebil.