Prospective operators of the Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft are working with the manufacturer and a private airport management group on plans for a network of vertiports in Brazil. Under an agreement announced on June 2, Brazilian airline Gol and transport company Grupo Comporte have set up a ground infrastructure working group with leasing company Avolon, Vertical, and Corporacion America Airports.
The partners say they will be considering where vertiports could be located and how they should be designed. They will build on early vertiport conceptual design work conducted by Corporacion America Airports, which operates 53 airports in six countries across three continents. These include Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, and Brazil, where the company runs airports in the capital, Brasilia, and Natal.
In June 2021, Avolon ordered 500 of the four-passenger VX4 vehicles, which are expected to enter service in 2025. Of these aircraft, 250 have been provisionally allocated to Gol and Grupo Comporte, with other leasing customers including Japan Airlines and Turkey’s Gozen.
According to Avolon, Brazil has the potential to be a prominent early adopter of eVTOL air taxi services, not least because the country is an established market for helicopter charter flights in congested cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The VX4 is expected to operate on routes of just over 100 miles and at speeds of 200 mph.
Since 2021, Corporacion America Airports has been working on plans to provide infrastructure for the advanced air mobility sector, mainly based around its existing airports. The partners in the new study have not said whether the vertiports would be intended for the exclusive use of VX4 operators or whether they would be available for other types of eVTOL aircraft. The working group has already consulted with Brazil’s ANAC civil aviation agency over its approval process for eVTOL operations.
Gol views eVTOL aircraft as a way to expand its scheduled regional air services. “Within reach, we have at hand a unique opportunity to unite the efforts of all parties involved to create a sustainable and safe operating ecosystem for eVTOL [aircraft], with zero carbon emissions, both in Brazil and beyond,” said the airline’s CEO, Paulo Kakinoff.
Rival eVTOL developer Eve is already working on its own plans to establish infrastructure to support eVTOL air taxi flights. It recently conducted trial operations using helicopters flown by one of its prospective customers, Helisul Aviation, and, on the basis of these, it published a proposed concept of operations.