The $300 million a week aviation market

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Why are you holding back? There is $318 billion to be made in investment opportunities across the urban air mobility spectrum over the next 20 years. That is according to a new market analysis from NEXA Advisors and the Vertical Flight Society (VFS).

The report identifies investment opportunities in air taxi operations, manufacturing and eVTOL infrastructure across more than 74 different cities over the next 20 years, flying an estimated 1.3 billion passengers over the period.

It is not just the disruptive businesses that will reap the benefits either. For those bankrolling the aviation revolution, it is expected to yield good returns. Revenues generated from the expected $32 billion invested in UAM infrastructure will be in excess of $244 billion according to the report.

Explaining the report’s methodology, Michael Dyment, NEXA’s managing partner said in a company press release: “The UAM Market studies prepared by Morgan Stanley, Booz Allen and others over the past year were very good but high level, so we took a different approach: Start with the cities and examine UAM from the unique characteristics inherent in each one. This would help identify early investment opportunities.”

Using New York as a case study, NEXA has created an interactive map of a theoretical city-wide VTOL infrastructure which can be seen here.

The early winners

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The report has identified three areas of the emerging market for early-stage investment opportunities. It first suggests that helicopter operators will be the early adopters and beneficiaries of eVTOL aircraft, using aircraft on their existing flight routes.

This spells good news for the currently ailing helicopter market which has suffered greatly from the oil and gas downturn. Many helicopter operators are already investing heavily in UAM and are ready to transfer sections of their fleets to eVTOL. This future transition is evident across the helicopter market, with the rebranding of societies such as the American Helicopter Society to the Vertical Flight Society and of one of the leading helicopter trade shows -- Helitech International – rebranding as the Vertical Flight Expo.

The report also suggests that there are cities that are ready to invite modest UAM infrastructure investments over the next two years - including Vancouver, Miami, Singapore and a dozen others.

Half a dozen cities are also willing to co-invest in Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) testing now, giving emerging air-traffic management (AMT); communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS); and air-navigation service providers (ANSP) companies opportunities to kickstart their operations.

Finally, the report identifies investment opportunities in battery technology to power eVTOL aircraft, as well as power systems for rapid charging and even hydrogen technology.

Mike Hirschberg, VFS executive director said: “The Vertical Flight Society is very pleased to help bring this report out. We have been championing the potential of electric VTOL for UAM and other missions for the past six years because we believe that there is an ‘Electric VTOL Revolution’ that could transform society.”