New Skyportz subsidiary, Wilbur Air agrees 100 aircraft deal with

Wilbur Air

A new airline, launched by electric aviation infrastructure start-up Skyportz, has agreed a deal with for 100 aircraft. 

Launched as a way of “having more pieces of the puzzle available to create an AAM ecosystem”, Wilbur Air will operate electric and hybrid aircraft from Skyportz future network of vertiports around Australia. Skyportz envisions a range of aircraft partners facilitating everything from heavy lifting drone deliveries to short- and long-range passenger travel.

“Potential large investors interested in building vertiports wanted to know that there was a way of activating them. They want to see (and potentially invest in) a fleet of aircraft so that their vertiport investment makes sense,” Clem Newton-Brown, CEO of Skyportz, told us. 

“While there are some great electric aviation pioneers in Australia we want to create a national e-airline brand that can capitalise on the vertiport networks we are creating. By doing so we may be able to offer a more seamless service and not necessarily rely on the Skyportz vertiports to be a stand alone business, but rather a facilitator of the Wilbur Air business.”

Having worked with US-based for some time, the deal was a natural step forward for Wilbur Air. Skyportz’ lobbying has ensured that eSTOL aircraft feature in policy considerations in Australia, according to Newton-Brown. That said, the partnership is the first of many similar announcements with with a range of airframes suitable for different uses from heavy lifting drone freight, business travel and tourism to medical, short hop urban and long-range regional connectivity.

Marc Ausman, Electra’s chief product officer said: “Electra is thrilled to partner with Wilbur Air in addressing Australia’s distinct aviation needs. Our sustainable eSTOL aircraft is perfectly suited for Australia’s diverse geography, with its ability to access short airstrips in both urban and remote areas, while offering exceptional operational efficiency.”

Skyportz has been putting pieces of the AAM puzzle together in Australia for the past five years. Newton-Brown said focus is on breaking the “nexus between aviation and airports” and enabling property owners to activate their sites with vertiports.

“In the future commercial and industrial landholders could be able to establish mini airports and vertistops to become part of the Skyportz network,” he explained. “We are working with governments, air regulators and communities to establish the parameters for the introduction of vertiport infrastructure and short take-off and landing runways.”

Framed by that reality, Skyportz is launching a new funding round to prepare the landscape ahead of a “much bigger” raise when the time is right to begin building the vertiport network and buying an aircraft fleet.

“With these funds we will continue to develop the regulatory, political and community support for the AAM industry and associated vertiport infrastructure; collecting first option rights from property owners to activate their sites for aviation; developing vertiport designs; and signing up OEMs who want to access our vertiports in the Australian market. All of which positions Skyportz as the Australian expert on vertiport infrastructure,” said Newton-Brown.

Find out more about the funding round here.