Bridging Distances: Ferrovial and Milligan unveil ambitious plan for UK business travel

In a significant move, the Airports division of infrastructure company Ferrovial has joined forces with London-based real estate developer Milligan to identify and develop sites for urban air mobility operations across the United Kingdom.

This collaboration marks a crucial step in Ferrovial’s plan to construct and operate vertiports, which will play a key role in the emerging field of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) operations.

The partnership brings together Ferrovial’s expertise in transportation infrastructure development and Milligan’s strategic approach to site selection and engagement with local communities.

AECOM and Lichfields, acting as planning advisors, will work alongside the partners to assess potential sites and determine their suitability for eVTOL operations.

The announcement of this partnership took place at a special event hosted by UKREiiF in Leeds in May. Brad Miller, Ferrovial Vertiports Managing Director for the UK and EMEA, and John Milligan, Executive Chairman of Milligan, introduced their joint vision for the future of air mobility, emphasizing the importance of engaging communities and core stakeholders.

By advancing connectivity, this collaboration aims to transform the way towns and cities across the UK are linked.

Brad Miller, Ferrovial Vertiports Managing Director for the UK and EMEA, stated,

Freedom of movement is critical to global economic and social advancement. With a 70-year history of developing transportation infrastructure that helps communities flourish and grow, Ferrovial is proud to play a leading role in transforming the future of urban air mobility

Recognising the critical role of vertiports in enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations, Miller highlighted their potential to provide sustainable and convenient air connections, revolutionizing travel within and between cities.

Stuart Harris, CEO of Milligan, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating,

UKREiiF has been the perfect opportunity to unveil the details of our partnership and plans going forward. With an audience of local authorities, central government, developers, and landowners, we are looking into the locations of the UK’s first Vertiports,

To ensure the success of the venture, certain imperatives guide the site selection process. Prospective locations must meet airspace requirements, offer a minimum area of 4,000m2 with access to utilities, and be free from residential or noise-sensitive areas. The sites can be situated on the ground or on existing structures such as rooftops or carparks, with design and fit-out costs covered by the partnership.

Milligan and Ferrovial are currently engaged in discussions with local authorities, landowners, and asset owners across strategically important locations in the UK, aligning with the demand model of Ferrovial Vertiports. This collaborative effort aims to establish the first Vertiports in the UK and set the stage for the future of urban air mobility.

The partnership between Ferrovial and Milligan, along with the involvement of Vertical Aerospace, a key partner of Ferrovial Vertiport and a leading manufacturer of eVTOLs, marks a significant milestone in advancing the accessibility and sustainability of transportation systems in the UK.

As the realm of urban air mobility unfolds, the collaborative efforts of industry leaders and stakeholders will shape the way we travel, opening up new possibilities for businesses and enhancing the overall travel experience for UK-based business travellers.

United Airlines backs Archer Aviation

United Airlines has announced an agreement to work with air mobility company Archer to invest in emerging technologies that decarbonise air travel.

Archer’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are designed to use electric motors and have the potential for future use as ‘air taxis’ in urban markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, United will contribute its expertise in airspace management to assist Archer with the development of battery-powered, short-haul aircraft.

United, together with Mesa Airlines, will acquire a fleet of up to 200 Archer eVTOL aircraft that would be operated by a partner and are expected to give passengers a quick, economical and low-carbon way to get to United’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments ‘within the next five years’.

United was an early stage investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy and recently partnered with 1PointFive, a joint venture between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital, to jumpstart the establishment of direct air capture and sequestration technology.

United CEO Scott Kirby said,

By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground.

Archer’s eVTOL design, manufacturing model and engineering expertise has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.

With today’s technology, Archer’s aircraft are designed to travel distances of up to 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and future models will be designed to travel further and faster.

Archer’s aircraft are capable of saving individuals time on their commute – United estimates that using Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by 47% per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport, one of the initial cities where Archer plans to launch its fleet.

Led by co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock (left) and Adam Goldstein (right), Archer’s mission is to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility at scale.

Archer plans to unveil its full scale eVTOL aircraft in 2021, begin aircraft production in 2023, and launch consumer flights in 2024. To drive this fourth transportation revolution and transform how people approach everyday life, work and adventure, Archer has built a highly accomplished team of top engineering and design talent, with a collective 200+ years of eVTOL experience.

Brett Adcock, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer said,

We couldn’t be happier to be working with an established global player like United. This deal represents so much more than just a commercial agreement for our aircraft, but rather the start of a relationship that we believe will accelerate our timeline to market as a result of United’s strategic guidance around FAA certification, operations and maintenance.

Adam Goldstein, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer said,

The team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future. We’re working closely with their test pilots and environmental teams to make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine.