- AECOM and Ferrovial have announced that they partnered to design a vertiport network connecting major Florida cities. Vertiports provide the landing, recharging and departure infrastructure necessary to accommodate electric aircraft that take off and land vertically.
- AECOM joins Ferrovial and its partner Lilium, a Germany-based aviation company that's developing an emissions-free, regional air mobility service. Elisabeth Bernitt, senior vice president and managing principal with AECOM's Building + Places business, said the vertiports will incorporate "flexible and modular elements" to create a space that can be scaled for growth.
- The vertiport infrastructure design, according to AECOM, will focus on sustainability, efficiency and natural elements. In addition, the airfield design will include noise abatement materials and surfaces to reduce the ultra-low noise emissions from the eVTOL jets. And the vertiport terminal buildings will offer user-friendly and touchless features.
Last year, Lilium and the city of Orlando entered into an economic development incentive agreement for a proposed $25 million, 56,000-square-foot transportation hub. The agreement, approved by the Orlando City Council in November, will give Lilium a tax rebate of up to 50% of Orlando's real and tangible personal property tax assessed on the property for 10 years starting in 2026.
Lilium's partnership with Ferrovial in developing the vertiport network will include at least 10 vertiports, the company said.
An AECOM spokesperson told Construction Dive that the vertiports will be built in major population centers in Florida, but that the final site selections are in progress, with additional location announcements coming as soon as this spring. The expectation is that flights will begin by 2025.
Lilium, which is developing the Orlando project with Tavistock Development Co., said the vertiport there would be the first urban and regional air mobility network in the U.S. and Lilium’s first U.S. network location.
The aviation company said its jets can travel up to 186 miles within one hour on a single charge. The vertiport locations are subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Florida DOT and other regulatory agencies. The Lilium jet, according to the company, is under certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the FAA and will operate under existing regulatory frameworks.