The creation of a new aviation ecosystem will be a complex task involving many organisations and players, but if the industry gets it right, the possibilities will be endless.

That was the view of Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director at UKRI, discussing the task ahead for the emerging sector at the Global Urban Advanced Air Summit (GUAAS).

He explained: “The Future Flight Challenge is trying to bring together different modes of transport – drones, air mobility and beyond -to bring them to the public. For us, that is not a simple enterprise that’s creating an entire new aviation ecosystem which no one party can solve for themselves.”

A “real alignment” of industry thinking

Cutts added that the industry had made technological leaps since it was last able to meet in-person at the last GUAAS event in autumn 2019. And despite the enforced distancing measures, he’d witnessed the industry coming together to progress the sector’s offer. He explained: “The industry has moved on so far, lots of technological developments are coming to the fore but what there is now, there’s a real alignment of people’s thinking, the understanding of the social importance of what we’re trying to do, the understanding of this as a complex ecosystem, so I think the industry is now starting to really align itself and make real fast progress.”

Cutts said one of the biggest challenges for the industry was to take their passion and translate it into wider benefits to the travelling public. “The biggest challenge for me is how do we take this aviation bubble of people who understand the industry, are passionate about it, know how it knits together…How do we take that understanding and have a conversation with non-aerospace, non-aviation professionals? How do we talk to the general public about the huge benefits there are from new forms of aviation?”

He added that the new forms of flight would open up real market opportunity: “The possibilities are still really open and they are endless. Right now, we think it’s really important to encourage everyone to continue to keep different avenues open, different technical solutions but particularly different market opportunities so there are no conclusions but there being no conclusions is testament to how open the market is.”

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