Inaugural Global Urban Air Summit discusses vital aspects of emerging $5bn urban air market – from infrastructure and regulatory environment to economic impact

The inaugural Global Urban Air Summit at Farnborough International looked at the challenges and ‘game changing’ opportunities for the economies of the future.

Exhibitions and discussions at the two-day event ranged from how to regulate the new, emerging market to infrastructural needs and through to the use of robotics and addressing public interest issues of noise and privacy. The event was attended by government representatives, delegates from across the globe, regulators and manufacturers from more than 150 different platforms, who were vying to be first to market.

The expanding market is due to grow to $5bn in 2023 and is estimated to grow at a rate of more than 25 per cent per year through to 2025.

150 UAM prototypes announced to market

Advances in electrification, autonomy and connectivity were ensuring the urban air market was fast becoming reality, according to Guillaume Thibault, a partner at Oliver Wyman. He said: “Already today, the race is on – 150 prototypes have already been announced to the market.”

“No matter what time it will take, it will happen, it will be a game changer for the entire industry and a very strong game changer for the entire economy.”

Regulators said that as well as ensuring the new craft were safe, the industry would have to work with the public to overcome environmental concerns. Tim Johnson, Policy Director, CAA, said: “This is the fundamental challenge, along with safety issues. The public are going to be interested in privacy and the visual and noise pollution of these vehicles. There is no quick solution to that.”

“The sector needs to demonstrate that it understands these issues, is responsive and has plans in place for mitigating those.”

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