A group of panelist at the 2022 EBACE stated that “AAM Is bigger than just aircraft”. And, while the majority of the focus has been on the OEMs developing the vehicles, AAM infrastructure plays a critical role in enabling the start and the eventual success of the entire AAM industry. AAM infrastructure is a complex ecosystem made of many interconnected parts - to name a few, landing infrastructure, zoning, permitting, airspace, weather, power sources (electrical, hydrogen), digital infrastructure/cybersecurity, multimodal operations, ground equipment, emergency response equipment, etc. - all necessary to start commercial service. With vehicles only a few years away from certification, 2024 for the first ones, the infrastructure progress has not kept up with the OEMs’ pace, falling behind. While at entry into service the majority of AAM vehicles will operate out of existing infrastructure (airports, heliports), as the market develops and grows, these vehicles will use their unique performance capabilities to land on the top of buildings and other suitable spaces in crowded urban areas.
With this future in mind, how ready is the infrastructure to house the upcoming vehicles and start commercial service?
The AIR Index is our next step in our coverage of the entire AAM ecosystem. Our goal was to port the AAM Reality Index methodology of a clear, simple, actionable understanding of the market to AAM infrastructure.
The AIR Index is a rating tool that assesses AAM infrastructure companies readiness towards the deployment of multiple vertiport networks all over the world in commercial operation, based on a proprietary tailor-made-for-the-infrastructure-market algorithm that uses publicly available information as well as expert knowledge.
As infrastructure is a complex ecosystem made of many parts, it is not possible to create a simple and easy-to-understand comparison of all the companies that operate in the market. With simplicity as our driving principle, we decided to rank vertiport companies, as we believe that vertiports – the take-off and landing areas for AAM aircraft - are the sum of all the parts that make up the AAM infrastructure and a great proxy to the entire AAM infrastructure market that can be easily and clearly compared and ranked.
We surveyed all the major participants to the vertiport market - over 15 companies, to identify the parameters used to rank companies in the AIR Index.
While we are rating 5 companies at launch, the index will be periodically updated to include new entrants as well as any new information on existing entrants. The tool is un-biased and data-driven. It is not meant as an endorsement or a critique of any specific company, but as a simple, easy-to-use guide to the readiness of the AAM infrastructure ecosystem.
The AIR Index is based on five completely unique elements with infrastructure-tailored specific milestones: the funding received by the company, the team that leads the company, the partnerships the company has established to complete its ecosystem, the regulatory progress achieved by the company and the deployment progress of their vertiport networks.
The formula scores each entrant on a 0 to 10 scale. A 0 on the AIR Index represents a company just considering the market with little to no financing. A 10 on the AIR Index represents a company with several vertiports networks across the world in commercial operation.
The AIR Index describes the readiness of an infrastructure company to deploy multiple vertiport networks all over the world in commercial operation.
The AIR Index takes into consideration companies that are developing vertiports.
The field with the arrows shows the rating change for each listed company since the last release of the AIR Index:
The field reports the up-to-date cash funding in millions of USD received by the companies at the time of the index release publication. "Corporate backed" indicates internal funding. "Corporate backed*" indicates a mix of internal funding and outside investors.
The use case represents the type of missions and vehicles the vertiport plans to serve.
The OEM partners field details the OEMs that are working with the infrastructure companies to understand, develop and deploy the vertiport networks.
The EIS cities field details the initial cities in which the infrastructure companies plan to launch their first vertiport networks.
The vertiport prototype field details the year in which the infrastructure company has introduced their proof of concept vertiport. The vertiport EIS field details the year in which the company's first commercial vertiport network will enter commercial operation.
The AIR Index is updated on a regular basis and it also appears in Aviation Week's AAM Report. We document the changes in blog posts that detail the updates. We also notify the industry through LinkedIn and Twitter. We advise our visitors to bookmark this page.
SMG Consulting does not accept responsibility for any decisions resulting from the use of the AIR Index, nor we accept responsibility for the correctness or factual nature of any information gathered from any source regarding any company or individual listed in the tool. SMG Consulting does not claim to have complete information or imply to have access to private or confidential information on any company, project or individual listed or identified.