Tuesday, March 5, 2024

SEQ Councils’ air taxi partnership set for take off

The future of flight is coming to South East Queensland (SEQ) thanks to a new partnership between the region’s Council of Mayors (SEQ) and leading Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, WISK.

WISK has developed the first all-electric, self-flying air taxi (pictured), which went on display in Brisbane’s King George Square this week.

The company’s entry into Australia is being driven by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the SEQ Council of Mayors, which will see the two organisations work together to introduce a safe, sustainable, and scalable, autonomous air taxi service to South East Queensland.

Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner said attracting global businesses and innovative industries to the region was a big part of the reason why the Council of Mayors first kickstarted the Brisbane2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games journey.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Wisk to look at how South East Queensland can capitalise off the new jobs and economic opportunities associated with this Australian-first industry,” Lord Mayor Schrinner said.

“We expect to see the emergence of advanced air technology in places like Singapore, Paris and Los Angeles, and by 2032, I’d love to see it supporting new and innovative experiences for tourism and travel right here in South East Queensland.

“While there’s still plenty of work to do around regulation and safety, the prospect of having autonomous air taxis operating throughout our region and between venues during the Brisbane2032 Games is really exciting.”

Chief Executive Officer of Wisk, Gary Gysin said Wisk was proud to engage with forward thinking local leaders to advance the introduction of AAM.

“This is an exciting time for us, as we continue our momentum and expand our global presence. We look forward to building on the strong relationships we have in Australia to make safe, all-electric, autonomous flight a reality,” he said.

Lord Mayor Schrinner said South East Queensland offered a mix of rural, beach, and city landscapes making it the perfect Australian location to trial and launch the air industry.

“The MOU will support engagement with the region’s Councils on the introduction of the Autonomous Air Mobility industry, including operators like Wisk, into South East Queensland,” he said.

“Through a strong collaboration between Councils and the industry, we can ensure they understand the needs of our communities and support a consistent and collaborative approach to planning and regulation.

“This collaborative approach will be critical to the industry’s investment and rollout across our region in the future.”

In addition to the new partnership, WISK will also be expanding its physical presence in the country, with the addition of Australia-based personnel.

Wisk says it intends for its presence in Queensland to be long-term and will be working with local government toward providing the city with green tourism and transport options.

Wisk’s Asia Pacific Regional Director, Catherine MacGowan said the new partnership was a great starting point for expansion across Australasia.

“Our work has the potential to accelerate the introduction of emissions-free aviation, help reduce transport-driven carbon emissions, and realise the benefits of AAM for the Queensland state economy and the wellbeing of its citizens,” she said.

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