“We expect that by 2032 we should have a well-established electric air taxi service on the Gold Coast and around Brisbane, if we get the support from all levels of government,” he said.
“It is not going to be the technology which holds up the advance of electric air taxis. It is having enough operators and places to land which will be the impediments to limit the potential for advanced air mobility.
“Skyportz and Sea World Helicopters are focusing on these bottlenecks and creating the ecosystem to attract aircraft manufacturers that want to supply their aircraft to the Australian market.”
Mr Newton-Brown will announce the Sea World and Secure deal on Wednesday in a speech at The Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems’ conference in Melbourne.
Secure Parking will offer up some of its 50 carparking locations on the Gold Coast and Brisbane as potential take-off and landing sites.
Skyportz’s plans are part of a space race of a different kind happening around the world with companies such as Volocopter, Lilium, Joby Aviation and Airbus vying to have the first flying taxi certified within two years.
The Queensland proposal will require the help of all three levels of government to make it a reality, including the alteration of planning schemes to allow for vertical take-off locations.
However, the bid has won the backing of Mayor Tom Tate who has long lobbied for an air taxi service ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games.
Mr Tate said the council would work with Skyportz to clear red tape.
“The Gold Coast has been built by an entrepreneurial spirit. We are proud of our past and are pushing hard to be seen as a city of innovation.
“I can see a place for Skyportz’s operations not only in our city but across the southeast Queensland region.
“Between the major cities, more than three million people reside, but equally, we attract in excess of 13 million annual visitors so the market is certainly there for innovative transport solutions like this.’’
Mr Tate wrote to UberAir in late 2019 calling for it to bring its proposed air taxi service to the city.
At the time he wanted helipads for the air taxis placed in prominent locations such as the Home of the Arts (HOTA) at Evandale and future high-rise developments.
However, Covid-19 hit two months later and the push never took off.
Sea World Helicopters CEO John Orr-Campbell said his company had signed up in a bid to transition towards electric vehicles.
“We intend to be at the forefront of the industry as it morphs into cleaner and quieter electric propulsion,” he said.
“We have existing helicopter landing infrastructure on the Gold Coast which we can activate with electric eVTOL aircraft as soon as they become available.”
“We can foresee that many of our tourist operations will be very well suited to electric aviation”.
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