Aircraft orders surged by 40% last year and are set to continue to expand this year with hybrid and electric vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft driving growth, new research* from industry experts Revolution.Aero shows.
Its data reveals aircraft orders rose to 2,876 last year from 2,056 in 2021 with hybrid and electric VTOL aircraft accounting for upwards of 90% of orders in both years. Regional mini-liners, amphibious aircraft and drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made up the rest of the orders.
Revolution.Aero believes orders will continue and potentially increase this year as the majority of future aircraft developers are start-ups which need cash from orders to provide funding to reach certification and pay for infrastructure projects such as factories and service centres.
But it stresses 2023 has the potential to be a make-or-break year for many start-ups and says it is increasingly likely the majority of investment and funding will come from strategic investors such as governments and corporates rather than venture capital.
Revolution.Aero says the traditional lull in orders as aircraft OEMs lock in final designs ahead of certifying and commercial entry, which can be mid-decade in the case of many in the future air mobility space, is less likely now that most future developers are start-ups.
It highlights the impact of inflation on the cost of capital which is making it less likely that traditional venture groups will invest given the extended timelines and high capital requirements in the sector.
Yves Le Marquand, Editor, Revolution.Aero said: “The global eVTOL market is estimated to be worth around US$8.5 billion by 2025 and this is expected to grow to US$30.8 billion by 2030. Our research shows strong growth in orders, but these are all split between 20 OEMs at most. Globally, there are over 400 different electric VTOL concepts from some 240 plus companies and innovators, so many are still waiting for their first orders. As the global economic environment worsens and investors become increasingly impatient for progress, we expect to see more eVTOL concepts close as they struggle to turn their vision into reality. This year has the potential to be a make-or-break year for many start-ups in the sector.” (£1.00 = US$1.22 at time of publication)
*Revolution Aero analysis of data from aircraft developers