Skyports, an owner and operator of vertiport infrastructure for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry, and SITA, an IT provider for the air transport industry, have announced a partnership that will see SITA provide its digital solutions at Skyports vertiport locations.
SITA technology will first be implemented at the Skyports Cergy-Pontoise vertiport testbed in Paris, planned for completion in September 2022 to demonstrate the full passenger journey, from arrival at the vertiport terminal to eVTOL aircraft departure. The partnership aims to highlight the ease with which passengers will be able to navigate the AAM ecosystem.
SITA will apply its expertise in airport technology to the emerging AAM industry to develop bespoke biometric and vertiport technology in line with Skyports’ vision for the passenger experience. The technology being developed through the partnership will be a fundamental component of the future passenger journey through a vertiport. It will demonstrate for the first time how customers will interact with the ecosystem.
Passenger autonomy, ease, and convenience are central to the success of the industry and the widespread adoption of AAM. Through the integration of SITA’s biometric solution Smart Path, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft passengers will be able to book and reserve flights on eVTOL aircraft via a mobile app powered by SITA’s biometric capabilities. Upon arrival at the Skyports vertiport, SITA face pods will be used to identify and verify passengers.
Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “Advanced Air Mobility has presented an opportunity to reimagine the entire travel experience, from the vehicles we use and energy sources we rely on, right down to the way passengers book and check-in to flights. We are partnering with SITA to move into this next crucial stage in the planning and development of the AAM industry – defining the experience for end-users. Everything we do at Skyports is underpinned by the belief that there is a faster, smarter, more streamlined way to travel. Our work with SITA will demonstrate how that translates to the passenger journey.”
AAM aircraft will provide a cost-effective and quicker alternative to traditional rail or land transport links. Walker added: “However, to make AAM work, there needs to be a demonstrable benefit to the end-user. Hence the passenger experience is fundamental to our success.”
Much of the magic in streamlining the passenger journey occurs behind the scenes. SITA will provide an automated scheduling solution to support Skyports’ airside operations. So, once a passenger requests a booking, a flight slot will automatically be secured at both departure and destination, ensuring the aircraft is operationally ready and waiting when the passenger arrives. It will also ensure that all the resources needed to support that flight are in place to ensure an on-time departure.
Sergio Colella, President of Europe at SITA, said: “With Skyports, we have the potential to use existing airport technology to totally redesign the passenger journey, with a light-touch process using just your mobile or facial biometric to complete the various steps in the journey. Together we will also work with existing airports to support Advanced Air Mobility solutions in the future.”
Skyports will, in the coming months, begin passenger experience trials at its Cergy-Pontoise vertiport testbed facility, Europe’s first operational testing site for AAM, which is being developed in partnership with Groupe ADP. The implementation of SITA’s technology will be a focal point of the testing.