Advanced Air Mobility News

Australia Prepares for Release of Vertiport Design Proposal

Australia Prepares for Release of Vertiport Design Proposal

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority is aiming to release its draft advisory circular on the design of vertiports within a month. In doing so, Australia will follow the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in releasing vertiport design requirements.

CASA CEO and director of aviation safety Pip Spence says a CASA team with “extensive aerodrome experience” is examining what vertiports in Australia could look like, where and how they might operate, in addition to the safety requirements governing their design and operation.

Industry collaboration is seen as crucial in the implementation of advanced air mobility (AAM) in the country and, as a result, a three-month consultation period would follow the release of the document. “This is a complex issue and we’re allowing three months of consultation so everybody can get their heads around the concepts. We’re keen to hear what the industry thinks,” Spence says in a briefing released today [Tuesday].

“We want industry working with us from the start of this process so this feedback will also go to a proposed vertiport design and operations technical working group [TWG] that the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel is considering establishing,” Spence adds. The TWG would help CASA establish its regulatory framework for AAM infrastructure. CASA followed a similar approach with the formation and release of its regulatory roadmap for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and AAM earlier this year, with a technical working group of 13 industry participants and sub-working groups including 73 participants – two-thirds of which were from the RPAS and AAM sectors – developing the roadmap. CASA has been praised by the nascent sector for its collaborative approach on preparing for AAM.

CASA plans to take its vertiport design proposals further than those recently released and published by the FAA and EASA, with the design of vertiports in Australia to be performance-based, says Spence. “This will put the onus on vertiport operators to understand how the aircraft they intend to support is likely to affect the design of a facility,” says Spence. “There will not be just one flavor of vertiport, but an array of designs in a range of circumstances,” explains Spence. Unlike other countries, where urban air mobility and congested cities are the drivers for AAM, Australia has its own distinct requirements, including regional transportation and emergency services.

Spence says CASA needs to move now as AAM will be with us “sooner than many people think” – with some companies seeking to launch operations within the next two to three years. Spence says CASA is in discussions with Joby Aviation on its plans as well as Australian eVTOL developer AMSL Aero, while a number of Australian companies have already ordered eVTOLs from Eve Air Mobility.