Singapore

City/Region/State:
Singapore

Timeline: Imminent – to be launched within the next three years

Route(s):
Volocopter planned
Scenic circular path within the Marina Bay area (9km)
Singapore – Nongsa Digital Park (Indonesia) (25km)
Singapore city centre – Singapore Changi (18km)
Ibrahim International Business District (Malaysia) – Singapore (37km)

Nanjing Technical University planned
Singapore waterfront – Batam (2km)
Singapore Waterfront - Malacca (200km)
Singapore Waterfront - Kuala Lumpur (311km)
Singapore VS (see below) – Batam (30.2km)
Singapore VE (see below) - Batam <17.8km)

Programme description

Singapore is developing masterplans for UAM development both domestically and with neighbouring countries.

In 2019, Skyports and Volocopter showcased the first full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport prototype in Singapore, with a view to creating a network of vertiports and an initial commercial air taxi service in the city state by 2024.

In February 2022 the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Skyports and Volocopter to explore ways the Seletar Aerospace Park can support growth of the emerging UAM sector in Singapore. This includes facilities like an air taxi vertiport terminal, airside facilities and hangarage, as well as facilities to support research and development (R&D) and pilot training.

In February 2022 Volocopter also produced its Singapore roadmap ( https://www.volocopter.com/wp-content/uploads/Volocopter_Whitepaper_Singapore-Roadmap_Web-2.pdf) including:
• Volocopter’s internal studies show that its UAM services can generate an estimated SGD 4.18 billion in cumulative economic benefits and create up to 1,300 local jobs by 2030.
• UAM will serve as an enabler to achieve the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and act as an engine for economic growth in a post-pandemic world.
• The initial launch will be tourist flights over Marina Bay and Sentosa, then expand its network to include cross-border flights to Indonesia and Malaysia.
• Volocopter envisions four to six VoloPorts in Singapore by 2030. Areas being considered: Marina South, Sentosa, and Changi.
• Volocopter’s consumer study in Singapore showed that 72 percent of those surveyed expressed high interest in flying in a VoloCity.

According to the report:
“For the initial VoloCity launch, Volocopter will focus on touristic routes within the heart of Singapore. These include a scenic circular path within the Marina Bay area offering incredible views of Marina Bay Sands, the Central Business District, the Formula One racetrack, and the Singapore Flyer. A second potential route would offer unique views over Sentosa Island and the Singapore skyline. Volocopter seeks to work closely with the Singaporean Tourism Board to create unforgettable experiences for locals and international tourists.”

Volocopter then envisages expanding its VoloCity network to cross-border flights by utilizing Singapore’s unique city island landscape and its proximity to Indonesia and Malaysia.

“These short, cross-border flights offer unique, time-saving opportunities to travelers and complement the country’s excellent domestic ground transportation network. A business traveler landing at Changi Airport and traveling to the Ibrahim International Business District of Johor Bahru, Malaysia, could arrive at their destination in 30 minutes, compared to 3 hours by car. Volocopter also envisions integrating Changi Airport into the VoloPort network for efficient and convenient transfers from Changi to central business districts in the neighboring countries. While a typical journey by car between Changi Airport and Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) of Johor Bahru, Malaysia can take more than three hours, a VoloCity flight along this route would take 30 minutes. By choosing a VoloCity flight, a business traveler transiting from Changi Airport to IIBD could save up to 150 minutes on their journey.

“Similarly, regional connectivity could be improved by offering air taxi services for journeys between Singapore and Indonesia. With the opening of Nongsa Digital Park, a technology talent magnet at the Indonesia-Singapore border, air taxi services could provide significant time savings and greater connectivity. The VoloCity will serve as a bridge between Singapore and Indonesia and attract digital entrepreneurs from the region. Connecting journeys via Singapore to Indonesia can become more time-efficient with a VoloPort at Changi Airport. Today, business travelers have to go from the airport to Harbourfront Ferry Terminal. Including waiting times for the ferry, it can take up to three hours to travel to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal in Batam, Indonesia. Comparatively, the duration of the VoloCity flight from Changi Airport will take less than 20 minutes, reducing current travel times by around 160 minutes.”

In August 2022 Nanjing Technical University updated its report “Initial feasibility study of multi rotor eVTOL aircraft for cross border Urban Air Mobility between Singapore and neighbouring countries” (https://dr.ntu.edu.sg/handle/10356/152840).

“To access routes to neighbouring countries the university’s study envisages vertiports placed at several key locations around Singapore namely at Woodlands Checkpoint, Tuas Checkpoint, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, and Harbourfront Centre. They are labelled as VN (Vertiport North), VW (Vertiport West), VE (Vertiport East), and VS (Vertiport South) respectively. The proposed vertiport locations are illustrated below.

According to the report:
“Generally, UAM stands an advantage against commercial air transport in the service of very short-haul routes which airlines are not operating on, for example direct flights between Singapore and Johor, Malacca or Bintan airports. This is largely due to commercial aircrafts requiring a runway and ground handling services as well as their extensive equipage and higher capacity for cargo and passengers that restricts their flexibility as a point-to-point mode of transport. However, the use of multi-rotor eVTOL aircraft for cross-border travel is largely limited by the flight performance and characteristic of multi-rotor aircraft, the battery technology affecting the flight endurance as well as cruising speed of the aircraft. Furthermore, the UAM scenarios presented in this study omitted the intervention of Air Traffic Management (ATM) procedures by Air Traffic Control (ATC), lacked the presence of infrastructures and external factors such as weather which would advocate certain flight routing or deviations rather than perfect direct to destination routes. While multi-rotor eVTOL aircraft limitations are not very restrictive for short routes such as between Singapore – Batam, Singapore – Bintan or Singapore – Johor, further destinations proved to be a challenge for these aircraft but this could be solved upfront using fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft. Fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft could drastically improve the operational range of UAM aircraft, enabling it to cruise faster and higher, providing significant reduction in transport duration thereby giving UAM a stronger standing and greater competitive edge. For example, considering Hyundai’s S-A1 fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft, which has a targeted cruise speed of 290km/h and a projected range of 100km, it requires only 1 battery stop for journey to Malacca, 2 stops to Kuala Lumpur and could effectively cover Bintan island without requiring any stops at all.
Meanwhile, Seletar Airport has also been reported as a potential hub for UAM operations.

Operational coverage of eVTOL aircraft serving Batam and Bintan islands.

France’s Ascendance Flight Technologies says it has sold Atea eVTOLs to Evfly and Yugo in Singapore, France-based HeliFirst and Jet Systems Helicoptères Services, California-based Flyshare, and Philjets Group in the Philippines

Partners

eVTOL manufacturer:
Atea
Volocopter

UAM/AAM aircraft operator:
EvFly
Yugo

Vertiport/airport developer/operator:
Skyports

Local authority partner/client:
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

Sources:
www.volocopter.com

www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/air-taxis/singapores-tiny-second-airport-eyes-future-as-a-flying-taxi-hub/