On The Radar
The U.S. has more than 5,000 public-use airports and yet many of them are not living up to their potential to be transportation hubs that could benefit the communities they are supposed to serve. This is a familiar proposition from pioneers in the advanced air mobility (AAM) sector, and its white paper eVTOL aircraft developer Wisk Aero attempts to be more specific about how the nascent industry’s infrastructure needs can be met in a way that delivers valuable opportunities to the wider public.
One of the report’s opening premises is that there is already plenty of infrastructure for early users of eVTOL and eSTOL aircraft to take advantage of in launching air transportation services. Yes, there will be a need for vertiports and other purpose-built facilities to be added in and around cities worldwide, but there’s nothing stopping the early use of many of the existing airfields and airports, and this could prove to be a way to kick-start the potentially huge potential of AAM. It also considers how the new types of aircraft could be effectively integrated with other modes of transportation interfacing with airports.
Los Angeles with its 17 public-use airports is offered up as a prime example. However, it is in much smaller communities with airfields so underused you can hear crickets most of the time while dodging tumbleweed that much of the biggest potential lies.
The 18-page report, entitled From Airports to Mobility Hubs: Leveraging existing infrastructure for AAM, quickly dives into the main considerations for those who want to integrate airports into their AAM plans, and vice versa. It looks at issues including environmental impacts, airspace coordination and routing, and managing relationships with communities.