HELI­COPTERS FOR THE UR­BAN AIR MO­BIL­ITY MAR­KET

SP's Airbuz - - Newsbrief -

The de­vel­op­ment of elec­tric and hy­brid VTOL (eVTOL) air­craft around the world prom­ises to usher in a new era of aerial mo­bil­ity, chang­ing the cost of ac­cess to ver­ti­cal flight and po­ten­tially open­ing new mar­kets. Each of the four ma­jor heli­copter man­u­fac­tur­ers namely Air­bus, Bell, Leonardo and Siko­rsky, are tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to con­fronting the mar­ket dis­rup­tion eVTOL air­craft and ur­ban air mo­bil­ity will leave in their wake, with the for­mer two com­pa­nies in­vest­ing heav­ily in pub­lic projects on the bleed­ing edge of the ve­hi­cle rev­o­lu­tion while the lat­ter two main­tain more of a “wait-and-see” ap­proach to the ve­hi­cles them­selves. In­ter­ac­tion with heli­copter ex­ec­u­tives from Air­bus, Bell, Leonardo, Siko­rsky and in­dus­try an­a­lysts shed light on what the near-to-medium term mar­ket im­pact is likely to be and the rea­son­ing be­hind each OEM’s strat­egy. An­a­lysts largely agree that tra­di­tional ro­tor­craft sales will not be im­pacted in the near fu­ture, de­spite vari­ance in the ex­pected size and ar­rival time­line of the UAM mar­ket. Michael Dy­ment, man­ag­ing part­ner of Nexa Ad­vi­sors, is more con­fi­dent that elec­tric air taxis will cre­ate new mar­kets, though he ex­pects to see peace­ful co­ex­is­tence be­tween the new air­craft and tra­di­tional heli­copters.

Richard Aboulafia, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Teal Group is skep­ti­cal that new eVTOL air­craft will re­sult in a brand-new ur­ban air mo­bil­ity mar­ket that jus­ti­fies the cur­rent in­vest­ment into the space. “What will mat­ter is to what ex­tent these air­craft open up airspace and mar­kets and peo­ple be­gin to think dif­fer­ently about heli­copters,” he added. “There are a lot of places where heli­copters just are not all that wel­come.”

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