UK’s first vertiport testbed set for construction at Bicester Motion


Skyports Infrastructure has signed an agreement to develop the UK’s first vertiport testbed at a 444-acre estate in Oxfordshire.

Continuing the site’s history with aerial innovation, the vertiport, including 160 sqm passenger terminal, will be positioned adjacent to Bicester Motion’s existing general aviation grass runways. Skyports said it will aim to open the doors to the vertiport by the end of 2024.

The vertiport is being developed as part of the Advanced Mobility Ecosystem Consortium and backed by Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge. It will serve as a “key node” for early vertiport network planning and demonstrations, as well as for the consortium’s wider testing programme. This includes demonstration flights from Vertical Aerospace.

Duncan Walker CEO Skyports said: “Our vertiport at Bicester Motion is ideally located to serve as a central hub for the UK’s advanced air mobility industry.  

“The facility will be employed by Skyports and our strategic partners to test and refine all aspects of our ground technology and operations within a UK context. This will also be a key location for early demonstration flights in the UK and will help to pave the way for permanent operations in the future.” 

The location of Skyports’ Bicester Motion vertiport, approximately 1 hour 40 drive from central London by road and close to Oxford and the Cotswolds, will also serve to show how air taxi services can provide a link between urban centres and regional, tourism and retail hubs.

The UK vertiport design, which has been submitted to Cherwell District Council, has drawn inspiration from Skyports’ existing testbeds in Paris and California.

Daniel Geoghegan chief executive Bicester Motion said: “Our agreement is a major step for UK aviation innovation. Partnering with such an innovative company as Skyports is not only a significant boost to Oxfordshire’s aviation cluster but also will facilitate the development and accessibility to a new sustainable, low-carbon and futuristic mode of transport across the world.”  

Andrew Macmillan chief commercial and strategy officer at Vertical Aerospace added: “At Vertical we are pioneering a new, hassle-free way to travel with zero emissions, but we can’t do this alone. Creating the right infrastructure is critical to getting electric aircraft into the air and the UK’s first vertiport will help accelerate this by providing crucial learnings to the industry.  Along with our partners we are excited to show the world the benefits of electric aviation.”