Air One. Credit Urban-Air Port; Air One. Credit Urban-Air Port;

Air One, Coventry

Smart digital design brings the world’s first hub for flying taxis to life 

Our global collective of designers, advisors and experts worked alongside Urban-Air Port to realise its award-winning vision for the world’s first vertical take-off hub. Air-One launched in Coventry in April 2022, showcasing how advanced air mobility can cut congestion, improve air quality and decarbonise transport, integrated with electric vehicles.

Supported by Arup, Urban-Air Port won the Government’s Future Flight Challenge – funded by the UK Government with funding matched by Hyundai – creating an operational base for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, including flying taxis and delivery drones. This prototype provides a blueprint for 200 planned hubs worldwide over the next five years.

Project Summary

100+ successful drone flights in just three weeks

100%of components are reusable

60%smaller than traditional heliports

Learn how Arup supported the development of the world's first vertical take off hub for delivery drones.
To view this video, you must enable cookies.

Unlocking the power of digital design 

Smart 3D modelling was central to the speed at which Air-One was designed and constructed. We used visual programming language Grasshopper to define the geometry, Rhino computer-aided design (CAD) to transfer the information into GSA for analysis and Revit to generate the drawings. Working collaboratively with the fabricator, we shared 3D models at an early stage, marking up changes and comments directly on a ‘digital twin’ to streamline production.

Recognising that there’s no one more important in shaping a place than the people who will be using it, we worked collaboratively with drone operators and aircraft controllers who gave insights into visibility, operation of the lifting platform and user safety.

Image © Urban-Air Port 

Solving client challenges

Urban-Air Port challenged us to engineer an ultra-compact, fully demountable structure they could rapidly deploy in diverse environments. So, we made every component as small and light as possible. Lightweight cladding – with fabric stretched eight metres between support legs – reduces the need for structural supports and allows daylight to flow through.

A key challenge was how to set the 48m structure firmly on uneven ground, without breaking the surface for foundations. We incorporated two levels of adjustment in the supports, with ballast to resist uplift and sliding. This was vital to the success of the project, as the first location for the hub was a city centre car park that had to be returned intact to the local authority. To avoid the need for a lift pit, we also devised a new lifting platform, transforming horizontal arrays of chain link into vertical arrays.


The opening of Air-One is a momentous moment – the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, congestion-free travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before. ” Ricky Sandhu Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port

Heralding a new age of zero carbon travel

Ground infrastructure is one the biggest barriers to sustainable air mobility. For the first time ever, Air-One gave visitors the chance to experience Urban-Air Port’s vertiport technology and see live drone flights, aircraft command and control, eVTOL charging and cargo loading. It can be operated completely off-grid, using zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cells.

West Midlands Police operated flights, showing how vertiports can act as ‘sky protection’ bases for tackling crime. Aerial logistics firm Skyfarer revealed how high-value cargo could be delivered in the near future and Malloy Aeronautics flew large cargo drones. Hyundai’s Supernal displayed a model flying taxi, which it expects to enter service by 2028. Free events brought the future of urban travel to life for the public. Additional charging infrastructure for other electric vehicles demonstrated support for sustainable travel networks.


Placing the UK at the forefront

Urban-Air Port chose Coventry for its launch site, inspired by the city’s rich aerospace history. Air-One is planned to be redeployed to other locations across the UK and internationally, demonstrating its capability in different settings. It positions the UK as a leading player in advanced air mobility.

Air-One offers opportunities for sectors including air taxis, delivery drones, disaster relief and defence. Its fast construction opens up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility, with drones transporting emergency supplies and people at short notice. Its compact footprint also means it can be located in the centre of towns and cities, for seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.


British innovation has a rich history of transforming global transportation, from the creation of the railroads in the 1800s, to the growth of great British brands such as Jaguar, Triumph and Rover in the 1950s. The opening of Air-One, backed by Government funding, will revolutionise the way people and goods travel across the nation. ” Robert Courts Minister for Aviation