VPorts begins vertiport certification in UAE


VPorts has begun certification of its vertiports as part of the AAM integrator at the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub in Dubai South.


The certification process, developed by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), meets with regulation CAR IX-HVD Part III, the guidelines for the certification and operation of onshore vertiports within the UAE. The process starts with the design approval phase, which VPorts plans to obtain within six months. The certification of the second vertiport, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), will follow shortly. Construction of the vertiports will start in 2024.

VPorts claims to be the first infrastructure company globally to begin a vertiport certification process. Dr Fethi Chebil, CEO and founder of VPorts, said: “With this milestone undertaking, Dubai has confirmed its leadership in the AAM sector. By adhering to regulations of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), we are taking a proactive approach to ensure all our vertiports meet and exceed industry standards, providing a secure and efficient environment for the operation of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.”

With the support of MBRAH, VPorts is also planning to build its Vertiport Operation Control Centre (VOCC) as part of the AAM integrator world centre in Dubai. The VOCC will have the capacity to manage air traffic integration and set up communication protocols between eVTOLs, vertiports and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs).

Tariq Bin Ghalaita, general aviation director at Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, said: “This certification process signifies a substantial step in our pursuit to cement Dubai’s status as a global powerhouse of aviation and innovation. MBRAH is more than an aerospace hub. We are a launchpad, propelling the aerospace industry to greater heights both within the UAE and globally. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and innovation, we are creating a new era of air transportation that will unlock new possibilities and drive progress across industries. From urban air mobility to logistics and beyond, we believe that the sky is the limit when it comes to the transformative potential of AAM.”

In December 2022, VPorts signed a 25-year lease agreement with MBRAH, renewable for a further 25 years, to establish the centre on a 37,000-square-metre site. The project, which represents an initial investment of $40m over three years, is expected to generate direct revenues of $7bn in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, combined, over the next 25 years and create 1,500 direct jobs. 

The project includes a dedicated flight test airspace and assigned blocked airspace. Over the coming months, VPorts will work with its partners on areas including eVTOL manufacturing, flight simulation and training, air navigation service providers, operators and electric charging manufacturers.

Regulators from anywhere will be able to come to the AAM integrator world centre in Dubai to build a regulatory framework for the benefit of their own jurisdiction. “We look forward to working with the civil aviation authorities around the world to certify vertiports for the benefit of the industry and AAM,” said Dr Chebil.