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Over the next 20 years, as much as $318 billion could be invested to transform urban air mobility in 74 cities around the world, according to a new study published today by Nexa Advisors and the Vertical Flight Society. The "Urban Air Mobility—Economics and Global Markets" study promises a detailed analysis of infrastructure needs and opportunities in major metropolitan areas and forecasts a projected growth path for each location in the period 2020 to 2040.
According to the study, the potential for developing urban air mobility in each metropolitan area is defined by what Nexa calls its “DNA,” which the company defines as “a complex blend of current transportation issues, congestion, population density, existing transportation infrastructure, regulation, business aviation, gross domestic product, local politics, per capita income, and a host of other issues.” The study uses these factors to determine the likelihood of any given city being either an early or late adopter of electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
According to Nexa’s managing partner Michael Dyment, the report is intended to guide prospective investors in urban air mobility as where capital can be put to most effective use. “The report is also a first attempt to identify the cost of UAM infrastructure: $32 billion for all 74 cities by 2040,” he explained. “This is very affordable as potential revenues generated from this infrastructure will be in excess of $244 billion.”
The anticipated $318 billion value of the urban air mobility market includes infrastructure (vertiports and air traffic management), but also aircraft that NEXA sees being operated in the following five segments: airport shuttle services, on-demand air taxi, emergency services, business aviation, and regional point-to-point charters (of up to 250 miles).
In the first instance, Nexa sees existing helicopter services being best placed to capitalize on rising demand for urban air mobility. The report predicts that Vancouver, Miami, Singapore, and a dozen other cities will accelerate investment in new approaches to urban air mobility from 2020. The report also addresses the potential to start testing urban air traffic management systems and the potential for new battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology to propel eVTOL growth.