As a child, I’d often dream of different ways of making money. It wasn’t a big dream – I just wanted to make a little bit of extra pocket money.
Eventually I decided that I’d make and sell jam. Whilst that might seem like a quintessentially British thing to do, there were definite advantages in it, not least the fact that I could outsource the production to my mother, who was terrified that I would have somehow set fire to the kitchen or ruin her precious AGA cooker.
However, being a child, I didn’t have money to buy the things I needed to make the jam (and my mother didn’t want to pay for them just in case she ended up with a kitchen full of unsold jam) so I needed people to pay for the jam upfront.
And that was the problem. Whilst people said that they would happily buy my jam, they weren’t prepared to pay any money up front. Suffice to say my jam dreams were soon shattered, and to this day I cannot even look at a jar of jam without dreaming about what could have been.
If just one person had given me the money up front, or even part of the money, then I would have had the confidence to continue, and who knows, I could have been writing this to you today as the King of Jam.
Which is why United Airlines paying Archer, the eVTOL OEM, a pre-delivery payment is such a watershed moment in the AAM industry. We have seen orders, multi orders and mega orders, but until United put their money where their mouth is, nobody had put down a single cent for any AAM aircraft, at least not publicly.
Whilst USD$10 million might not seem like a lot of money, it pales into insignificance when compared to the billions of dollars already thrown at the industry, the fact that Archer received a pre-delivery payment has huge ramifications for the industry. And let’s not forget that it is not a small startup that nobody has heard of before, it is United Airlines, one of the biggest airlines in the world.
It can be treated as validation of the industry, that people outside of OEMs building the aircraft and VCs funding them believe in the work that is being done. It is the first real sign that we will be getting somewhere, that all of the ideas, plans and prototypes are being validated and that the sector will soon be fully commercialized.
It also means that there has never been more of a need for a second edition of our AAM report.
So, the report you’re reading now is the second edition. Much has changed – including the name. With the original report we stuck to the Urban Air Mobily (UAM) name as it was more familiar, but now as the market has matured further, the switch to Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) seems appropriate. The term is also used more frequently than UAM and has become more accurate as the sector grows outside of its original ambitions to solve urban mobility issues, and looks at connecting nearby city centers as well.
With the new name also came some decisions surrounding the terms used. This biggest one of these was whether we used crewed or manned. Following an internal discussion, we decided to use crewed, not only because it is the term that is used more commonly, but also because it is a technically more accurate term to describe if the aircraft is being piloted.
The AAM world has also introduced new terms that are perhaps more commonly used in some parts of the world than others. The most common of these is “3D Travel”. This term is frequently used in China and across Asia, most commonly in reference to an un-asked question about the difference between electric cars and electric aircraft. An electric car would travel in 2D – forwards, backwards and side to side, whereas an aircraft travels in 3D – forwards, backwards, side to side, and up and down.
There will no doubt be many more new terms to learn in the next few years, and most will appear in future AAM Report editions.
In this report we again take a look at the major OEMs across the Asia-Pacific region, and list their most prominent aircraft, as well as any pertinent dates, including first flights and projected entry into service days. Where known, we have also looked into the OEMs funding, listing out their investors, and how much money they have raised. This data has, in the most part, been validated by the OEMs themselves, although in some cases we haven’t been able to receive a direct answer to the funding question, so in these cases we have chosen to say that data is undisclosed.
Elsewhere in this edition we have interviews with AEROFUGIA, Grepow, MuYu, Pantuo, and Vertax from within mainland China, whilst outside of China, we have interviews with Ampaire, Volocopter and SMG Consulting.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every company and individual that has contributed to this edition, no matter how big or small.
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