The Australian federal government and authorities in the state of Victoria this week agreed to jointly work on the development of the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on December 9, officials said that they will push to accelerate the launch of eVTOL aircraft and cargo drone services in the country.
The agreement builds on the A$35.7 million ($25.7 million) investment that the federal government has already committed through its National Emerging Aviation Technology Policy Statement. This seeks to prioritize the development of services including passenger air taxi flights, as well as wider mobility needs for Australian communities.
The MoU is backed by the federal government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications; the Civil Aviation Safety Authority; air traffic management agency Airservices Australia; and the state government of Victoria. The state includes the city of Melbourne, which has been identified as a likely early adopter of AAM services.
“The memorandum of understanding will support opportunities for industry to bring innovative technologies to Australia, building regional connectivity and creating jobs,” said Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport, and regional development. “People who live in regional areas should not be disadvantaged or cut off from the goods and services they need, particularly health care. Developing this industry will ensure regional Australians are better connected to major cities and the services they rely on.”
AAM will not fulfill its potential unless planning and effort go into developing landing sites, according to former Victoria state politician Clem Newton-Brown, who is founder and CEO of ground infrastructure group Skyportz, He said his company is preparing to develop as many as 400 sites across the country.
“We envisage a network of mini airports across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, which will provide new options for passenger and freight services,” he told the Australian website news.com.au. “My suggestion is that the Victorian government should start with air taxi landing infrastructure being permitted in places such as industrial areas, business parks, and big retail centers.”