The US Air Mobility Market Is Bursting With Opportunity; It Takes Flight in Ohio
Alina Harastasanu, JobsOhio Director of European Business Development•Published: Thu Oct 19 2023
Advanced air mobility (AAM) has been called the next revolution in flight, and the US market is primed with opportunities for global companies looking to capitalize.
As AAM industry leaders look for a favorable environment in which to operate, no state holds more advantages for companies to thrive in this market than Ohio. Access to skilled talent, a sophisticated innovation ecosystem, fewer regulations, and a low cost of doing business have consistently placed Ohio as one of the top-ranked states for business each year.
Consider Joby Aviation, the AAM industry’s leading manufacturer of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. When Joby began looking for a new site for its first scaled aircraft production facility, numerous states threw their proverbial hats in the ring. But after an extensive site selection process, it seemed only natural, as Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt explained it, to put roots down in the same soil where the Wright Brothers opened the very first airplane factory in 1910: Dayton, Ohio.
“We’re building the future of aviation right where it all started,” Bevirt said, noting that when construction is complete in 2025, the new facility, built on a 140-acre site, will be capable of delivering up to 500 aircraft per year at the Dayton International Airport, supporting up to 2,000 jobs. The company plans to invest up to $500 million as it scales operations at the site.
Joby will join a fast-growing ecosystem for mobility innovation that has seen major investments from industry players. Honda and LG Energy Solution announced a combined investment of $4.2 billion, creating a combined 2,527 new jobs between the establishment of a new electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Fayette County and the retooling of existing Honda plants for EV production. Ford has committed a $1.5 billion investment at its Ohio Assembly Plant to expand its EV production capabilities, a move that will create 2,000 new manufacturing jobs.
And, highlighting the state’s collaborative climate, OhioHealth recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with Zipline, the world's most extensive autonomous delivery service, to integrate Zipline’s fully electric drone delivery system into OhioHealth's expansive network. The goal: To deliver prescriptions directly to patients' doorsteps and facilitate the swift movement of lab samples and supplies between OhioHealth facilities. By 2025, this partnership aims to establish a delivery network capable of serving nearly two million people in the greater Columbus area.
Dubbed “the birthplace of aviation”—and the number one supplier to both Boeing and Airbus—Ohio already stood at the crossroads of America's industrial and aviation progress. Thanks to recent efforts and the state’s broad coalition of advanced air mobility (AAM) stakeholders spanning industry, academia, nonprofits, local, state, and federal partners, Ohio has become a living lab for mobility innovators. The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport is home to the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center and to SkyVision, a $5 million initiative to offer airspace monitoring services for aircraft and sensor testing operations and to give the airport the unique capability to manage drone and unmanned aircraft flight beyond the operator’s visual line of sight.
Now, the airport will host a new venture, the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art facility designed as a beacon for industry leaders to converge, collaborate, and conceive the future of aviation. Add to that the NASA Glenn Research Center, which runs more than 500 specialized aviation research and test facilities, including sound testing for drones in collaboration with the FAA, and the Airforce Research Laboratory (AFRL), which leads the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces. It’s easy to see how Ohio is becoming a burgeoning research hub for mobility.
Perhaps best of all, as entrepreneurial visionaries bring their transformative ideas to fruition, they have access to an unmatched, first-in-class talent pool of aerospace and aviation engineering pros. When it comes time to go to market, innovators benefit from their location in one of the top three manufacturing states in the nation. Ohio’s robust manufacturing system includes well-oiled machinery that has been honed over decades, state-of-the-art facilities, a skilled workforce, and a history of producing quality goods at scale.
Complementing those manufacturing capabilities is a world-class global supply chain network of suppliers, logistics providers, and distributors, all of which ensure that businesses have timely access to essential materials and markets. Thanks to unprecedented investments in transportation, digital technology, and trade, Ohio hosts a dependable infrastructure offering seamless integration to reduce lead times, mitigate risks, and ensure that products move efficiently from factories to consumers.
The recent strategic alignments with major industry players underscore not only Ohio's relevance in the modern age but its pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of advanced air mobility. As the world stands poised on the brink of a mobility revolution, Ohio sends a clear message: it's not just where aviation began but where its future will be defined.