May 10, 2021

NBAA has joined with a diverse group of aviation associations in expressing “strong support” for the establishment of a new grant program, to be included in future infrastructure legislation, which will assist communities with the planning and capital costs associated with advanced air mobility (AAM) operations.

In a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure committee, the groups outlined how such grants could be used to develop needed infrastructure, including vertiports and connections to multimodal hubs, to support near-term and future AAM operations.

More than 250 manufacturers are currently developing hybrid-electric and all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) AAM vehicles with a low noise and emissions footprint, the letter reads. Other countries are working to develop AAM systems and infrastructure, reinforcing the need for the U.S. to remain a leader in the segment.

“AAM provides environmentally conscious alternatives to current transportation options,” reads the letter. “It is critical that states and local governments have the flexibility and financial support to study and plan for how AAM can meet their distinct planning and community requirements and make targeted capital investments.”

The groups cited a recent study from the Aerospace Industries Association and Deloitte that noted AAM may represent a $115 billion annual market by 2035, creating at least 280,000 jobs. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen noted that the grants could further enable partnerships between AAM manufacturers and communities to assist in comprehensive planning and development.

“NBAA is working to educate policymakers on Capitol Hill and elsewhere about how AAM can advance the nation towards sustainable, zero-emission aerospace,” he said. “The Biden-Harris administration’s focus on infrastructure provides an outstanding opportunity to consider forward-looking investments in AAM infrastructure.”

In the next five years, AAM operations are expected to begin the letter noted, and while existing heliports can support some operations, to realize the full potential of this technology, investments in planning and infrastructure will be necessary.

“This AAM grant program will assist cities, metropolitan planning organizations, states, and others in accelerating this critical work, allowing the U.S. to maintain our global leadership in an exciting new aviation market, while creating thousands of new green American jobs,” the letter concluded.

Read the full letter. (PDF)