On The Radar
A new report called Urban Air Mobility: Economics and Global Markets, jointly published by NEXA Advisors and the Vertical Flight Society, gives a clear summary of the potentially massive opportunities but equally massive challenges presented by the nascent market for eVTOL aircraft. Investors can be forgiven for salivating at the report's headline declaration that in the two decades spanning 2020 to 2040 this market could be worth as much as $318 billion to manufacturers and operators of eVTOL aircraft, as well as to those providing the required infrastructure across 74 metropolitan areas around the world.
The report includes databases for each of the 74 cities studied, based on "geocoded" data features and characteristics for each of these, and provides findings on the potential that each has to exploit the urban air mobility (UAM) market opportunity.
According to the report's authors, each metropolitan area has a unique “DNA”—a complex blend of current transportation issues, congestion, population density, airports, existing transportation infrastructure, regulation, business aviation, gross domestic product, local politics, per capita income, and a host of other factors—that contribute to the likelihood of its becoming an early or late user of eVTOL aircraft. “Despite the many differences, even the smallest cities will eventually create sustainable and profitable UAM services for their communities,” said Michael Dyment, NEXA’s managing partner. “With over 60 data layers, the interactive city data sets allow subscribers to analyze their own investment opportunities and business cases, an unparalleled tool in today’s emerging UAM market.”
According to NEXA, the study was conducted to accelerate investment into UAM markets. “We wrote it primarily because many of our investors and charter subscribers are hoping to unpack the universe of urban air mobility to put capital to work but can’t yet decide what or where the early opportunities are,” said Dyment. “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.”
The report argues that there will be an “inflection point” when certified automation systems can permit pilotless passenger flights within the next decade; this is where the market will start to grow exponentially to an estimated 1.3 billion passengers predicted in the 74 cities over the 20-year period, with a demand for 28,000 eVTOL aircraft.
According to NEXA, to establish the infrastructure needed to support UAM operations in the 74 cities by 2040 will cost around $32 billion. However, it anticipates this infrastructure (including vertiports and traffic management technology and services) will generate revenues in excess of $244 billion. The report identifies five UAM operational segments: airport shuttles, on-demand air-taxi flights, emergency services, business aviation and regional point-to-point charters of up to around 250 miles in length.
NEXA Advisors is a division of NEXA Capital Partners. It recently formed Urban Air Mobility Geomatics, LLC, to provide business intelligence entity to inform investment in the eVTOL sector through analytical tools and advanced models, supported by geospatial data and business case analysis. UAM Geomatics is partnered with Blue Raster, a pioneer in interactive ArcGIS technology.