Marisa Garcia outlined in Forbes yesterday the prospect of using new helicopter-connection services, like the recently announced United Airlines HeliFlight service, as a “canary” or sorts for the future success of eVTOL transportation.
Namely, Garcia focused on the potential hurdles that eVTOL’s might have to overcome that make them similar to helicopters: the high investment in technology that mandates a high utilization rate for a return on any level of investment. Other similar helicopter connection services exist, like FlyBlade, which is independently growing as one of the largest on-demand helicopter and aircraft charter businesses in the world, but Garcia argues that even companies like FlyBlade start to lose ground when they partner with another transportation entity to provide true door-to-door service, like Blade did with Delta. Supposedly, that partnership will now neither be confirmed nor denied by a Delta spokesperson reached out to with that very question.
However, there are a number of advantages that eVTOL’s have over the conventional helicopters that are outline in Garcia’s commentary: they’re quieter than helicopters, fully electric, and as a result, lower impact on the surrounding urban areas that they’re slated to operate in. Additionally, the sheer volume of funding that has poured in over the past few years has allowed for rapid industry progress. Coupled with mergers and acquisitions by numerous aerospace firms, the industry is burgeoning with preparedness and a level of work intensity that has not crossed the aerospace field (in terms of aircraft development time) in history.
Why it’s important: As Garcia stated in her commentary, the next 12 months will serve as a great barometer for the success of commercial eVTOL implementations and also for on demand door-to-door transportation business models in general. Companies like FlyBlade are most likely seeking to expand their reach, if not implement the infrastructure to be the single B2C model that a consumer may use to get from their door in New York to their condo in Los Angeles. Time will tell.
- Image // United