Acknowledging a future that will include personal air transportation, two big engineering firms are teaming up to build vertiports in Florida.

AECOM and Ferrovial announced Feb. 18 a plan to design a network of vertiports to connect locations in major Florida cities. The first location in South Florida will be announced in spring 2021.

Vertiports are crucial for electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (eVTOL), and they provide the necessary infrastructure for landing, recharging and departure.

“We are excited to work with Ferrovial on the design of this vertiport network that exemplifies the future of air mobility. It is important for us that the design of the vertiport infrastructure reflects the innovative nature of the eVTOL crafts while creating a warm, welcoming environment,” says Elisabeth Bernitt, senior vice president and managing principal with AECOM’s Buildings and Places business.

By incorporating flexible and modular elements, AECOM partners will be able to scale up the vertiports, creating an efficient space that allows for future innovation and growth, she says.

Ferrovial agreed in January to partner with German aviation company Lilium to develop the Florida vertiport network. Lilium is focused on creating an emissions-free, regional air mobility service.

Ferrovial and Lilium are developing a network of at least 10 vertiports. In 2020, Lilium announced it would bring eVTOL to the United States and build a $25-million, zero-carbon transportation network near Orlando. The vertiport infrastructure emphasizes sustainability and efficiency, taking advantage of sunlight and natural elements. Noise abatement materials and surfaces are a key feature of the airfield design in order to further reduce the already ultra-low noise emissions from the eVTOL jets.

Terminal buildings at the vertiports will provide a user-friendly passenger experience with touchless processes, quick journeys, and a comfortable environment.“Our partnership with Ferrovial to develop flight infrastructure is a critical step in delivering the potential of regional air mobility to provide high speed, affordable, emimssions-free travel to millions of people,” stated Daniel Wiegand, CEO of Lilium, in a release.

Nearly 20 million Floridians are anticipated to live within 30 minutes of vertiports as well as 140 million annual visitors, according to Remo Gerber, COO with Lilium.