On The Radar
Even in a week when the UK government is backtracking on its earlier commitments to take a leadership role in net zero decarbonization efforts, the country is viewed as a potential early adopter of electric aviation. It is in this spirit that advanced air mobility consultant EA Maven recently released a study looking at how public transportation links between communities could be transformed by new aircraft, including eVTOL vehicles and subregional airplanes.
The findings of the new UK City Air Mobility Index are based on current “mobility data” from which EA Maven partners Darrell Swanson and Jarek Zych seek to map out opportunities for new types of urban air services and new markets for commuter or domestic airlines. In fact, the consultants say their conclusions are relevant to those proposing to keep using fossil fuel-powered aircraft as well as to those planning to employ new carbon-free types.
The analysis for the report, which complements EA Maven’s earlier UK Regional Air Mobility Index, covered 368 UK cities and more than 13,000 potential routes. After some further number-crunching, the index was distilled to encompass 264 cities and 994 routes.
Around three-quarters of British travelers now use their cars to travel between cities. Many observers would say this is in part due to the lamentable state of the country’s once-great rail network. EA Maven more tactfully notes that “great potential [exists] to help de-carbonize subregional travel.”
The journeys assessed by the study show a roughly 33/67 percent split between business and leisure travelers. By switching to advanced air mobility services, these people could recoup no fewer than 9,700 years of time with a direct economic benefit of £2.2 billion ($2.7 billion), says EA Maven.
That’s a lot of time and a lot of money potentially saved. But is that how UK citizens who may have felt rushed to commit their own time and money to buy electric cars and heat pumps gas-burning central heating will see the political shift away from net zero commitments? Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scrapping aspects of the net zero targets set by his own party as recently as 2019, apparently to appease climate-change-denying Conservative voters who appear not to be engaged with the advanced air mobility age. And could the U-turn undermine confidence among innovators investing in green aviation, who may now feel the UK government could renege on commits to its so-called jet-zero policy of achieving carbon-neutral flying?
Darrell Swanson and Jarek Zych talk through their findings in this video presentation.