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“Over 200 cities in the world now planning eVTOL services” – Global Air Mobility Market Map

“There are two very different development paths for the introduction of advanced air mobility services around the world,” according to Global Air Mobility Map editor Philip Butterworth-Hayes. “China, Indonesia and Cost Rica are moving swiftly down the path to launching autonomous eVTOL operations in the next year or so while most of the rest of the world is following the somewhat slower regulatory path laid down by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. In terms of developing regulations, the really interesting parts of the world for AAM are Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Mexico, where both Western-based and Chinese concepts of operation are being developed in parallel. These countries will decide whether and how the two very different systems can co-exist.”

In terms of geographic markets, the USA continues to dominate in terms of city/state projects, adding eight new locations since the start of the year, to a total of 57 individual sites where AAM operations are being planned. Most of these programmes are individual site developments but there are also three networks being built in the USA: the Lilium Florida regional network; the BETA/Atlantic Aviation FBO network spanning the East and Gulf Coasts and the Overair/Clay Lacy Aviation FBO network in Southern California. The vast majority of these programmes are, for the moment, exclusive ecosystems, with Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Santa Monica planning to start initial AAM operations with more than one eVTOL OEM.

The last few weeks have also seen a flurry of agreements between eVTOL manufacturers and charging companies on rolling out initial infrastructure.

In January 2024 Atlantic Aviation, a fixed-base operator (FBO) and BETA Technologies announced they were collaborating to install BETA’s electric charging stations at several of Atlantic’s airport locations across the East and Gulf Coasts.  BETA charges are also being installed throughout North Carolina, In the same month Overair announced a new strategic collaboration with FBO and infrastructure developer Clay Lacy Aviation to establish eVTOL operations throughout Southern California. Clay Lacy will focus on the development of charging infrastructure and aircraft operation logistics. Also in January 2024 Joby Aviation announced it had signed an agreement with Helo Holdings to install the first air taxi charger in the greater New York City region at the company’s heliport in Kearny, New Jersey, located just a two minute flight from Manhattan. Previous charging partnerships include Volatus Infrastructure signing a letter of intent to supply its vehicle agnostic charger to the GREENPORT® International Airport and Technology Center, while Lilium’s flagship eVTOL Jet, in the USA, will use the Star Charge charging systems and receive support from the company’s new Power-On offering.

BETA, Lilium, Volocopter, Eve Air Mobility, Wisk and Archer’s charging systems are based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard, recommended  by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in its October 2023 report “Interoperability of Electric Charging Infrastructure” while Joby prefers the Global Electric Aviation Charging System (GEACS) standard.

Saudi Arabia and India have also suddenly become new AAM market pioneers, with JetSetGo, an Indian regional airline, extending its order of eVTOLs and SkyDrive announcing it had signed a Strategic AAM Partnership Agreement with the State of Gujarat. In January 2024 the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia launched the AAM in Saudi Arabia initiative while Saudi Airlines announced it was gearing up to launch flying taxis as an innovative mode of transport for pilgrims during the Haj seasons. eVTOLs will transport passengers from King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah to hotels in Makkah.

Country-by-country, city-by-city, the Global AAM/UAM Market Map – now 425 pages of unique programme information – lists the routes, the route-lengths, the key industry players from eVTOL and vertiport manufacturers to local authority partners, the programmes which are clearly defined and funded, to speculative, over-the horizon opportunities. For more information about the database of programmes please contact the editor Philip Butterworth-Hayes at philip@unmannedairspace.info

(Guangzhou, China, February 24, 2024 – Image: Shutterstock/Mike Dotta)

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