Statement on behalf of Aldenham Aviation
In response to an article in Saturday’s Times newspaper, we confirm that we have been in discussions with Skyports, a UK-based developer of infrastructure for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, regarding ways in which London Elstree Aerodrome can support the evolving Advanced Air Mobility sector. It is important to emphasise, however, that there are no plans for eVTOL test flights to be conducted from Elstree, as these will take place in Bristol where the aircraft developer, Vertical Aerospace, is based. We have not yet made a statement about the possibility of hosting Skyports at Elstree because discussions are still ongoing and no firm agreement has yet been reached. As a licensed aerodrome, we adhere strictly to CAA regulations and we would not make any agreement with Skyports that could in any way undermine or disrupt our existing flight operations. Due to several complex hurdles such as energy density and airspace management, there will be a significant period of flight testing in Bristol before CAA certification is completed, and during this time Skyports aims to create a network of passenger hubs around major UK cities, focusing on the more congested road transport routes. Elstree’s proposed role would be to make available a small operational building from which Skyports can test its ground-based technology and hardware, including situational awareness systems and biometric check-in gates. It is key to the success of this project that, by the time the aircraft reach certification, the ground-based technology can work alongside the operations of an active licensed airfield. It is well known that the Estate wants to promote innovation in aviation. As the last licensed aerodrome in Hertfordshire, a county renowned for its innovation in aerospace, we feel a strong duty to the sector as well as to the environment. Part of our approach to this is to support businesses that are researching and developing the feasibility and viability of carbon-neutral and electric flight. We were therefore proud to be invited to become an unfunded partner of the AMEC group that recently received Government funding from Future Flight Challenge, part of Innovate UK. This group includes Skyports, Virgin Atlantic, NATS, Heathrow Airport and Vertical Aerospace. We hope to be able to agree a way in which Elstree can support this government-backed initiative to facilitate the advancement of aviation, provided we can ensure that this respects the operation of our existing tenants and their businesses and avoids any disruption to the local community. If you would like to know any more, please contact Humphrey Gibbs on 07533 957317 or email@example.com.