There are now 113 cities and regions with electric air taxi and advanced air mobility (AAM) services in development around the world, in 55 countries, according to the latest update to the Global Air Mobility Market Map database of programmes, but only 18 of these include UAS traffic management (UTM) partners in their developing eco-systems.
In terms of numbers, the USA has the greatest number of eVTOL/AAM city/state based programmes under development. But numbers alone do not tell the whole story – Brazil (4) and Canada (4), France (3) and South Korea (2) in terms of programme maturity are all in the first division of UAM/AAM industry commercialisation. Dubai, Osaka and Singapore have the highest concentration of planned vertiports of any cities in the world.
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Most of these cities and regions plan to launch UAM/AAM services within the next five years.
“But of these, only Rio de Janeiro, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Montreal and Vancouver have fully developed UAM/AAM eco-systems which include UTM partners and ground services,” says the Global Air Mobility Market Map editor Philip Butterworth-Hayes, “while a second wave of cities – Milan, Rome, Turin, Venice, Dubai, Osaka and Tokyo have nearly completed the complement of industry partnerships needed for scalable commercial services. Four other cities have involved UTM in their early development plans.”
“In the first wave we saw new city and route programmes launched by vehicle manufacturers,” says Butterworth-Hayes. “Then, towards the end of 2022, infrastructure providers began to announce their developments. In the first few weeks of 2023 it is airports who are leading the way, with many announcing vertiports or AAM regional hubs in their strategic planning. In Europe, hydrogen hubs have been announced in Birmingham and Stuttgart while in North America, Monterrey (Mexico), Bellefonte (Pennsylvania) and Lincoln (Nebraska) are all pioneering UAM and AAM services in their regions. There is growing evidence that for many regional airports AAM business offers the opportunity for a serious revival of fortunes. This has been the theory for some time but there is now clear evidence of serious investment by all sectors of the AAM industry into these mini-hubs across the world, especially in Europe and the USA, where regional airports are now major business drivers.”
A good example of how communities, airports and industry pioneers are working together to build a cross-stakeholder UAM ecosystem can be found at Denmark’s Odense Airport, which could see the airport become one of the first and most important UAM/AAM operational hubs in Europe.
In May 2022 Odense Municipality announced it was targeting future green mobility solutions at Hans Christian Andersen Airport (HCAA). According to a report from the local authority’s economics committee: “It is the Mayor’s Administration’s assessment that the airport faces a unique opportunity to become an epicenter in Denmark and (Northern) Europe for the use, testing and development of drones for passenger transport… the Mayor’s Administration is now uncovering the potential for urban air mobility and vertiports in more detail – in order to be able to position Odense Municipality and Hans Christian Andersen Airport as visionary players in drone mobility in the long term. On the basis of the above, the mayor’s administration has set up a fast-working working group, which in future will facilitate a focused and short-term cover-up effort, which will uncover the potential and prepare a business case, a project plan, defined milestones and a draft budget…. In this connection, the focus will be particularly on the establishment of a Danish/Finnish solution for personal drone mobility in the context of future infrastructure.”
Following on from this announcement, a new partnership between HCA Airport and Copenhagen Helicopter was announced in February 2023, the “first in Denmark to build an infrastructure for electrically-powered flying taxis to ferry people between the country’s largest cities” according to UAS Denmark Test Center. Te centres goes on to say: “The aim is to showcase the first flying taxi by summer 2023, and in the slightly longer term the goal is to establish one or more landing sites, so-called vertipads or vertiports, in Odense – initially on top of Odense Station.
“Initially, the partnership wants to attract foreign AAM operators to HCA Airport, which already hosts the UAS Denmark Test Center. This could be in the form of testing and demonstration activities or, in the longer term, service and maintenance.
According to Martin Andersen, CEO of Copenhagen Helicopter, the AAM business at Odense could transport 84,000 passengers a day and remove 120,000 tonnes of CO2 from Danish roads by 2035.
The Global Air Mobility Market Map is published by Unmanned Publications, publishers of Urban Air Mobility News and Unmanned Airspace.