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Advanced Air Mobility – Snapshot May 2023

May 15, 2023

The UAM sector has generated most of the activities in the AAM market in both the number of proposed concepts with over 16 different designs, and commitments from over 50 different customers.

Sara Dhariwal Valuations Manager

By Sara Dhariwal, Senior Aviation Analyst at Ascend by Cirium

This is Cirium’s first update of 2023 of known orders and commitments in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) space.

To date, there has been almost 8,000 non-binding commitments recorded for 23 different AAM concepts from over 80 different customers.

This report has divided the space up between eVTOLs and Regional Electric aircraft.

Data coverage includes:

Market GroupingTypeComments
Business Electric – Multi EngineAlice 
Business Electric – Multi EngineeFlyer 800 
Business Electric – Multi EngineElectra eSTOL 
Business Electric – Multi EngineM200 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityAero3 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityALIA-250 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityANN2 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityAtea 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityButterfly 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityCora 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityEH216 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityEve 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityJourney 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityLilium Jet 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityMidnight 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityS4 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityVoloCity 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityVoloConnect 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityVT-30 
eVTOL – Urban Air MobilityVX4 
Regional Electric – SmallERA 
Regional Electric – SmallES-19Programme cancelled
Regional Electric – SmallES-30 

eVTOLs – Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

The UAM sector has generated most of the activities in the AAM market in both the number of proposed concepts with over 16 different designs, and commitments from over 50 different customers adding to almost 6,000, or 75%, of the total of ~8,000 commitments in the space. 

The commitments by type for the eVTOL UAM space can be seen in the table below. There has been no changes since the last snapshot published in November 2022.

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* Source: Cirium Fleets Analyzer as at 8th May 2022

Eve, the design by Embraer’s subsidiary Eve Air Mobility, continues to hold the top position in the market with 2,500 known commitments by 20 different companies. Its design features four+one seating capacity, eight electrical propellers and a distributed electrical propulsion system (DEP). A DEP is characterised by having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so that if one of them fails, the other working motors and propellers safely land the aircraft. Its landing gear are helicopter-type skids.

Vertical Aerospace Ltd was founded by OVO Energy CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick and its VX4 design has total known commitments of 1,500 by 10 different companies. Its design also features a four+one seating capacity, eight electrical engines and a DEP system. Contrary to Eve, it features retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear.

Certification expectations – are they realistic?

Vertical Aerospace is the first listed eVTOL company in the world to be granted a Design Organisation Approval (DOA) issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In simple terms, a DOA certifies the creation process of the aircraft design. To allow the company to move from design to production, a Production Organisation Approval (POA) is required.

With the DOA granted, Vertical has ticked off the first step in, what can be, a very lengthy road to certification.

In its recent Q1 2023 shareholder statement however, Vertical announced a push back from full certification in 2024 to 2026.

In that context, expectations seem to differ between the OEMs as Volocopter started the countdown to its Grand Launch of VoloCity using the platform of one of the biggest sporting events in the world with over 3 billion viewers worldwide – 2024 Paris Olympics. Only some 400 days away.

It begs the question of what is indeed realistic.

We know that the helicopter industry has welcomed a number of new entries to the market in the past decade. All of them are flown with traditional propulsion systems and with various degrees of previous design precedence.

Type Formal launch*First delivery
Airbus Helicopters H17520082015
Airbus Helicopters H16020112021
Leonardo AW16920102015
Leonardo AW18920112014
Leonardo AW6091996Not yet certified
Bell 5252012Not yet certified

*Formal launch is when the aircraft was officially ‘unveiled’ with the programmes likely to have been at various design stages at that time.

In that context, the eVTOL OEM’s certification timelines still seem rather optimistic – even at a push to 2026.

Commitments for the eVTOLs do seem to remain strong nevertheless with those who’s commitments are more than 3% share of the total numbers have increased by three companies –

  • Volocopter Chengdu – 150 commitments for VoloCity
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways – 150 commitments for the VX4
  • JetNets – 150 commitments for Lilium Jet
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*Graph is showing commitments for those with a >3% share of the total number.
*Source: Cirium Fleets Analyzer as at 8th May 2023.

United Airlines has, by some margin, assumed the top position as the largest customer in the eVTOL sector with a total of 800 orders – a 10% share of total numbers – for Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 (400) and Archer’s Midnight (200). Avolon remain the second largest investor in the space with a share of 8% and also backing the VX4 with 500 commitments. American Airlines’ 450 commitments for the VX4 type make them the third largest customer at a 7% share.

Business Electric – Multi Engine

In the business/regional electric category, there are seven main contenders with a combined total of almost 1,700 commitments to date.

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* Source: Cirium Fleets Analyzer as at 8th May 2023

Heart Aerospace ES-19 and ES-30 have a combined share of the total order numbers of almost 40%. However, it is not clear if, following the upgrade to the ES-30 programme, all the commitments for the ES-19 have carried over to the new programme. Aura Aero’s ERA remain at a 20% share and the Electra eSTOL at 18%.

United Airlines and Mesa Airlines lead the way in this category with 100 commitments each for Heart’s ES-19 and a further 250 each for the ES-30, giving them each a 15% share of total commitments.

The Ascend by Cirium AAM team will continue to provide valuable insight to the market. We would be pleased to hear any thoughts, comments or feedback you may have, so do not hesitate to contact us.

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