June 14, 2021
A recent webinar sponsored by the Alliance for Aviation Across America examined the many ways that general aviation stakeholders are investing in sustainable transportation options, including the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) industry.
“[AAM] aircraft are largely electric, and they can operate and complete trips in close proximity to where they begin,” said Michael Alaimo, director of environmental and energy affairs for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “Workers will benefit from shorter commute times, and the public and our planet will benefit from a reduction in [greenhouse gas] emissions.”
Alaimo further noted that, in addition to its environmental benefits, AAM is expected by 2035 to be a $115 billion industry, “and support more than 280,000 high paying jobs and contribute a billion dollars in tax revenue.”
Arlington, WA Mayor Barbara Tolbert noted several companies “are developing electric and hydrogen powered engines and aircraft, which support jobs and economic activity in local communities like mine, as well as reduce the environmental impact.”
Tolbert also pointed to the considerable work underway to increase availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived in part from renewable feedstocks. In Washington, SAF is available at Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI) and Seattle International Airport (SEA), while companies like Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels are working to develop large-scale SAF production using woody biomass.
The alliance expects SAF to become a $15.3 billion market by 2030. In cooperation with organizations including the Main Street Project and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the alliance recently launched a dedicated website to highlight the industry’s sustainability efforts and their potential economic and environmental benefits.
“Our goal really is to raise awareness about all of the good work that local groups and individuals are doing to invest in these types of technology, and examples of how that can benefit local communities,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.
Ongoing development of sustainable aviation solutions also makes this an exciting time to be involved in the industry, said Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz.
“Never in our history have there been so many corporate, academic, state and federal agencies united behind the safe integration of new entrants into the national airspace,” she said. “Transportation really is a team sport, and there couldn’t be a better time to be in transportation.”
The panel also included Arapahoe County (CO) Commissioner Bill Holen and Main Street Project Senior Advisor Niel Ritchie, with the discussion moderated by Politico Pro transportation reporter Sam Mintz.