The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is exploring the idea of developing a vertiport — a next-generation launching pad for aircraft of the future.
This week, the Kenton County Airport Board voted to enter into an agreement with Populous Inc. to develop a Vertiport Master Plan. In total, over $603,914 will be spent on the plan.
“The Jetson’s are here,” CVG CEO Candace McGraw quipped at Monday’s airport board meeting.
So, what is a vertiport exactly?
A vertiport is defined as an area specifically designed to accommodate advanced air mobility aircraft. This term can refer to any type of aircraft powered by either hydrogen, electric or hybrid fuels, and operated by pilot or pilotless systems. These aircraft are projected to fly out of designated vertiports.
Advanced air mobility aircraft are designed for short-range flights and close-in air taxi purposes. As of now, the design requirements of a vertiport have not been fully defined.
From CVG’s perspective, formulating a vertiport plan helps the airport stay in-line with cargo and passenger airline industry trends, CVG spokesperson Mindy Kershner told LINK nky. Additionally, CVG can better understand the business behind operating a vertiport.
“Our mission is to redefine and elevate the role of an airport. To redefine and look into the future of our industry, we are working to develop an early-stage Vertiport Master Plan that aligns with our Airport Master Plan to ensure we are prepared for infrastructure requirements and to understand the business models with these types of aircraft for both passengers and cargo,” Kershner said.
CVG is an active partner within the NASA/Ohio Department of Advanced Air Mobility Planning and Integration — a collective devoted to working with the government and other stakeholders to promote public confidence in the aircraft, as well as accelerating the adoption of these emerging aircraft.
Some of the other organizations in the collective include Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.
Populous will analyze potential locations on CVG’s campus, infrastructure requirements and business model implications. Their plan is estimated to conclude during the third quarter of 2024. It’s set to be financed by the airport’s Operations and Maintenance Budget across 2023 and 2024.
Currently, companies like Amazon, DHL and Delta have all developed their own advanced air mobility aircraft.