Feb. 9, 2022
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen reaffirmed the importance of advanced air mobility (AAM) solutions across business aviation during a Feb. 9 town hall discussion focused on AAM and hosted by Corporate Jet Investor.
“We’re on the verge of something really exciting,” Bolen said. “Business aviation has always been about getting people where they need to be, when they need to be. Now, we’re looking at further advances that will help us continue our decades-long mission of on-demand air mobility.”
Bolen also emphasized that AAM technologies have tremendous potential to bolster business aviation’s environmental sustainability goals – with dozens of hybrid- and electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft now under development – while also providing opportunities to attract a younger and more diverse workforce to aviation.
“This new air-transport mode can can also emerge [with] point-to-point travel across cities not tied to old transportation routes that may have divided communities,” he said. “We now have ways to bring that together.”
Ongoing efforts to develop the necessary AAM regulations and infrastructure in the U.S. include the recently-introduced Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act (AAIM Act), Bolen noted, which calls for a Department of Transportation pilot program for construction grants to spur development of AAM infrastructure.
NBAA’s own AAM Roundtable provides a forum for leading companies in this sector to work with the FAA in what Bolen termed a “robust conversation” guiding the segment’s development. Similarly, the FAA’s AAM Integration Executive Council coordinates the agency’s support for development of AAM vertiports and the segment’s integration with existing airports and air traffic control systems.
While several AAM entrants hope to begin commercial service by 2025, others have differing strategies. Matthew Sattler, manager of infrastructure and ecosystems partnership for town hall sponsor Supernal, the AAM division of Hyundai Motor Group, said his company has adopted a “second-mover advantage” position toward the latter half of the decade, to allow further advances in battery technology and infrastructure.
“We’re focused on the urban mobility market, but that is largely the first in what we plan to be many vehicles,” he added. “We have the ability to be really patient about building this business.”
Other presenters included OneSky’s Adam Twidell; Christophe Lapierre, head of strategy for Luxaviation; Solaris President John King; Sheryl Barden, president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International and Ryan Waguespack, executive vice-president for the National Air Transportation Association.