It is already inevitable that the early 2020’s will be remembered as a turning point for aviation; the COVID-19 pandemic created disruption on a scale that profoundly reshaped the air transport ecosystem at every level. As the industry continues to ride the aftershocks, another transformation has been gaining momentum that promises to reshape how we fly and cement the first half of the decade as the start of a new era in air travel.
Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is an emerging sector of air transport centered on next-generation aircraft that take advantage of autonomous guidance systems, electric propulsion, or both. AAM technologies such as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) promise to introduce new ways of moving people and payloads within, and between, places currently underserved by aviation, particularly in urban and local settings.
The sector promises to unlock new opportunities and efficiencies for stakeholders across air travel, maximizing revenue, and minimizing disruption. By creating efficiencies and utilizing renewable energy sources, it also holds significant potential to reduce the industry’s emissions as part of the drive towards net zero.
However, deploying and integrating electric and AAM aircraft into the existing air transport system is a complex process, heavily reliant on industry-specific expertise and high-quality, free-flowing data.
As a leader in aviation’s digital transformation, Cirium is actively enabling the development and adoption of Advanced Air Mobility projects. We are providing data and capabilities to organizations across the ecosystem, helping them to develop emerging aviation markets, incorporate new technologies and reduce emissions.
Understanding the marketplace
The electric and AAM aircraft market is rapidly growing, highly active, but fragmented. A constellation of manufacturers is vying for business, each with different products, capabilities, and commercial models.
In a fast-moving sector, it is impossible to identify opportunities for investments and services without timely visibility of the order commitments and the addressable market.
Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer and Cirium Sky provides access to the most comprehensive fleets database in aviation. Financiers, OEMs, part suppliers and MROs can utilize up-to-date, granular insights of electric and AAM aircraft, enabling them to understand the addressable market, monitor order commitments, and identify new service and support opportunities.
As one of the first providers of electric and AAM fleets data, Fleets Analyzer and Cirium Sky users benefit from clear and accurate insights into a dynamic marketplace, empowering them to complement existing business and develop new revenue channels, all while supporting a sustainable aviation future.
Integrating unmanned traffic
The global air travel system is designed around crewed, medium- to long-range aircraft operating between dedicated facilities. Electric and AAM aircraft will inevitably push this system’s boundaries and capacity as they come into service, while new services break out of established routes, schedules, and destinations.
Traffic management systems will have to adapt to accommodate new types of aircraft in new environments, handling increased complexity and a greater number of participants without compromising accuracy or safety.
To integrate uncrewed operations in the existing air traffic management ecosystem, Cirium provides data and solutions that power unmanned traffic management (UTM) service providers and planners, developing systems to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into airspace. We supply real-time data for UTM service providers in the form of Laminar Data APIs, enabling a precise, reliable, and common situational picture, as well as enhanced global NOTAMs with full lifecycle support and geometry.
Cirium has invested in a series of innovations and major research projects to drive innovation in this space. For example, as the lead for the ATOMICUS research project, we are researching the requirements for systems to enable the use of commercial drones at airports alongside traditional passenger aircraft, creating opportunities to achieve new operational efficiencies and remove vehicles from the roads.
Identifying markets for eVTOLs
Perhaps the most exciting prospect of AAM technologies is their promise to bring air transport to new places. The broad concept makes sense for short-range passenger eVTOLs; they can serve in urban environments and short routes that would be unviable for traditional jet aircraft. However, setting up new, untested services between locations carries inherent risks for operators.
Cirium’s network intelligence and planning tools can provide clarity and certainty to operators assessing prospective routes. Diio Mi combines comprehensive datasets to enable network planners to research, plan and implement new services.
By surfacing historical and forward-looking data from a range of sources, users can identify unserved markets with sufficient demand for routes served by eVTOL aircraft.
This allows providers to be proactive in identifying new routes, rather than simply replacing aircraft, and provide the means to model and validate their economic viability. By leveraging Cirium data and expertise, operators can uncover lucrative, underserved potential markets that only AAM services can realize, bringing affordable and sustainable travel to new regions.
Enabling a new age of air transport
Advanced Air Mobility technologies promise major opportunities, even a ‘Third Era of Aviation’ comparable to the leap forward brought about by the jet engine. However, to realize fundamentally new applications, the industry must leverage data to overcome a crowded marketplace and complex airspaces. If successful, we can look forward to new opportunities and sustainable growth, ensuring that ‘post-pandemic aviation’ will mean more than a return to normality.
Cirium’s tools and expertise are helping organizations across the sector realize opportunities in Advanced Air Mobility. Contact our experts to learn how we can accelerate your AAM projects.