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A Vtol passenger aircraft, on a test flight above an olive grove in Andalucía. SUR
Drone industry homes in on this site in Malaga as a possible landing zone
Transport

Drone industry homes in on this site in Malaga as a possible landing zone

The take off and landing pad could be installed on the San Andrés quay, near the mouth of the Guadalmedina river, where a heliport was planned years ago

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Monday, 27 May 2024

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There are calls to create a space at the Port of Malaga designed for drones or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (Vtol) as the Costa del Sol airport continues its pioneer project to develop a future passenger drone service-

The landing zone could be installed on the port's San Andrés quay, near the mouth of the Guadalmedina river, where a heliport was planned years ago. It could also go on the platform of quay 9, although for the moment nothing has been specified, according to port sources. These installations could also be used to support beach rescue teams, with a strategic position to provide service to the entire provincial coastline, from Nerja to Manilva.

Its position next to the sea is key, because the routes of the passenger Vtol will foreseeably follow the coastline for their journeys along the Costa del Sol. "It is the perfect place to make a link from the centre of Malaga with the airport and with other municipalities on the coast," pointed out experts in the sector.

Although public airspace management company Enaire is not assessing potential business, the manufacturer it is working hand in hand with, German company Lilium, considers that one of the first commercial lines in Spain could be a link between the airport and Malaga city with Marbella.

"Although it is not a large metropolis, Malaga has a very extensive metropolitan area with high added value, due to its high purchasing power, and is also poorly connected at present," these sources said. They added: "It is the ideal solution to provide service from Sotogrande to Nerja, where you have the coastline that allows you not to have to fly over towns, so regulation can be more permissive."

Another advantage is that the airport is practically at the epicentre of this large linear conurbation, well located and very close to the beach, "so air taxis will be able to fly in and out as if they were aeroplanes, and then move along the coastline".

Malaga, in the lead

As SUR has been reporting, Malaga is on the starting ramp of new proximity air mobility. Enaire, the national body that manages Spanish airspace, together with the professionals in the control tower, have made Malaga Airport one of the pioneering airports in the development of the new vertical take-off aircraft (Vtol). Although European regulations will initially require these aircraft to be manned, in the short term it is expected that routes will be operated by autonomous drones.

According to the planned schedule, flights for air taxis could take place around October or November next year. These will be carried out initially with conventional helicopters, and not yet in the modern aircraft under construction.

The route will be between Malaga and Granada, and the date chosen depends on the volume of air traffic. From there, Malaga would be on the "take-off runway". Once the procedures are certified, if all goes well, in just two and a half years, the first air taxis could be in Malaga by the end of 2026.

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