VPorts Develops International AAM Corridor

VPorts Developing First International AAM Corridor Between New York and Québec

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) infrastructure leader VPorts has announced the development of the first international electric AAM corridor between Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York and VPorts’ vertiport in Mirabel (Québec, Canada).

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The corridor will allow for the establishment of an AAM ecosystem granting a platform for full commercial cargo transport operations using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with initial test flights planned for 2023.

A consortium made up of international organizations such as VPorts, NUAIR, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Aéro Montréal, Innovitech, the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (Alma), and Helijet International, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish corridors between Canada and the United States.

“The aim of the corridors is to build an AAM ecosystem that will provide a platform for full commercial cargo transport operations using eVTOLs,” said VPorts President and Founder Dr. Fethi Chebil. “They will allow the consortium’s members to explore all aspects of AAM, including goods transportation, charging readiness, stakeholder management, business cases, security and safety protocols, social acceptability and urban integration of infrastructure and operations. Many companies and organizations rapidly investing in these related new capabilities are present in Central New York State today with good prospects of growth, and others are likely to be attracted to the region.”

VPorts International AAM CorridorRecently, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state will grant NUAIR an additional $21 million in “Central New York Rising” Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding, allowing NUAIR to further develop the uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and AAM industry hub in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. This funding will enable the testing and deployment of critical infrastructure for advanced industry applications, state agency adoption of UAS, AAM development, and related workforce development.

“New York’s state-of-the-art drone corridor further elevates our global leadership in this evolving market for cutting-edge UAS technology,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “Our ongoing investment and focus on drone and advanced air mobility corridor operations will continue to strengthen and grow the statewide economy, especially in the Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions, for generations to come.”

A recent NEXA Capital study predicts that the total expansion of UAS and AAM industries to Central New York could generate more than 8,100 jobs by 2040, and generate upwards of $1.3 billion in direct, indirect, and induced economic benefits.

“There are currently over 5,000 underutilized regional airports throughout the United States,” said NUAIR CEO Ken Stewart. “The development of this international AAM corridor between Syracuse, NY and Montreal will help lay the foundation for regional air mobility (RAM) operations for those underutilized airports, assisting with cargo deliveries and strengthening United States supply chains. NUAIR will build on the foundation of it’s 50-mile UAS Corridor, and UAS traffic management (UTM) systems and our work with NASA on Vertiport Automation Systems to integrate this next generation aircraft into America’s National Airspace System.”

Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) believes that the creation of the AAM corridor will provide underserved communities with a new transportation alternative that will enable them to receive additional economic opportunities.

“The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA), operator of Syracuse Hancock International Airport, is proud to take part in the creation of an international electric AAM corridor,” said SRAA Executive Director Jason Terreri. “This undertaking, which will sustainably connect communities in Upstate New York and beyond, firmly aligns with the SRAA’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the electrification of transportation-related technology at SYR. SYR is one of the first airports in the U.S. to include UAS/AAM infrastructure planning as part of its Master Plan.”.

The project stakeholders will collaborate with Transport Canada, NAV CANADA, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make use of their respective expertise and regulatory authority in order to establish an international framework for testing relevant technology, regulatory alignment and air traffic procedures and management.

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

 



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