Editor’s Note: This CNN Travel series is, or was, sponsored by the country it highlights. CNN retains full editorial control over subject matter, reporting and frequency of the articles and videos within the sponsorship, in compliance with our policy.
Renowned UK architecture firm Foster + Partners has released a concept design for a “vertiport” terminal for vertical take-off and landing vehicles such as air taxis, which would connect Dubai’s most popular locations and provide high-speed, zero-emissions travel.
The design was developed in collaboration with advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports Infrastructure, and endorsed by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, according to Foster + Partners. It would be located next to Dubai International Airport (DXB) and integrate with existing airport networks, as well as surrounding transport hubs.
David Summerfield, head of studio at Foster + Partners, said in the press release: “We are delighted to have developed a vertiport concept for the emerging AAM industry, which will transform the way people travel in Dubai.”
He added that the conceptual vertiport would connect with DXB and the Dubai Metro, “to provide seamless, sustainable travel across the city for international and domestic passengers.”
Foster + Partners’ renderings show the terminal situated on an elevated deck to facilitate take-off and landing for aircraft. The building wraps around the airfield, connecting the arrival and departure lounges, and offering spectacular views of the aircraft and city beyond.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted in February that air taxi stations will start operating in Dubai within the next three years.
The Emirate has long planned for a flying taxi service. In 2017, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced it intended to launch driverless passenger drones that year, using a one-seat model made by Chinese company Ehang.
RELATED: Driverless flying taxi service set to launch in Dubai
In 2022, the Chinese XPeng X2 successfully completed the first public test flight of its two-seater flying car at Dubai’s GITEX technology expo. The fully electric vehicle was designed to carry two passengers, reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour and lift vertically off the ground using eight propellers.
RELATED: XPeng flying car takes to the air in Dubai
The site next to DXB airport is one of four proposed vertiport locations being considered by Skyports Infrastructure and RTA, which plan to develop the vertiport networks for air taxis by 2026, according to Foster + Partners.