Australia released last week two reports under the title ‘Aviation Green Paper — Towards 2050’ confirming the country aims to take a leading Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) role in the Pacific Region. The Paper also suggests the Government hopes to play a key role in coordinating and financing such AAM operations.
The Green Paper, released by the Australian government, states, “The emergence of new technologies allows Australia to provide leadership in the region and strengthen partnerships with like-minded governments in the Pacific and help those in the region to share in the benefits offered by emerging aviation technologies.”
It continues, “There is likely to be demand from these nations for the uptake of drones and AAM, where Australia has already received requests for support to facilitate such technologies. There may be Governmental benefits to boost engagement in the Pacific by supporting the uptake of emerging aviation technologies across the region.”
The Paper also suggests that “private sector capital will need to drive innovation and manufacturing, where government may create a favourable investment environment.”
The Australian government is seeking stakeholder input on these two reports, the precursor to an Aviation White Paper, scheduled to be released in mid-2024 to set the country’s policy direction for the sector through to 2050.
The government anticipates that crewed AAM will enter service in the country by 2030 and envisions public acceptance and technology use to grow rapidly throughout that decade. By 2050, it forecasts there could be around 37 million passenger trips annually using AAM, primarily replacing road-based transport and boosting regional air connectivity.
The Paper says, “Over the long term, it is possible that AAM services will improve regional air connectivity and enable new point-to-point networks and on-demand services for short air routes.” It is believed that such emerging aviation technologies “will transform the aviation sector” and therefore, “it is essential that policy and regulatory settings are able to support and encourage their adoption.”
The government points to opportunities for its aviation manufacturing industry, where around 600 Australian businesses are involved.
Examples include Western Australia-based Electro.Aero, which has been at the forefront of developments in charging and storage technologies for electric aircraft, and FlyOnE that developed the country’s first electric aviation charge node network and is developing a long-range, four-seat electric aircraft designed for air taxi services.
The government is already investing in emerging technology through programs, such as the Community STEM Engagement Grants, Cooperative Research Centres projects and the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnership Program. Also, the AUS15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) is expected to be available for emerging aviation technology and the government is looking to create an environment that fosters private investment in such technology.
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Meanwhile, the Paper points out there is a greater need for intergovernmental coordination on aviation issues that has not been seen before.
It says, “While airspace management will remain the responsibility of the Australian Government, improved coordination and collaboration could be facilitated by a national approach to managing drone rules between the Government and state, territory and local governments. This would build upon work already underway in the Commonwealth, States and Territories Drones Working Group, to consider a framework to allow for collaboration and coordination across all levels of Government on the development, management and enforcement of rules related related to drones across jurisdictions.”
The importance of Vertiport construction is also alluded to in the Paper. It states, “Vertiports placed at convenient, practical locations will be essential to fully realise the benefits of AAM, and the government will have a role in ensuring appropriate guidance, standards and regulation are in place to ensure the highest levels of safety, but also to ensure they are properly equipped to support the technology.”
(Skyportz Graphic Image of Proposed Vertiport: Credit — Skyportz)
CASA has established the ‘Vertiport Design and Operations Technical Working Group’ to ensure it can provide suitable safety guidance to support industry in identifying, procuring and designing vertiports in time for an estimated mid-2025 commencement of commercial operations.
This working group will also advise on options for regulatory oversight of vertiports. Earlier this year, the government established an ‘Advanced Air Mobility Consultative Committee’ to develop an AAM Strategy, with the committee being the key liaison point for government to engage with industry.
The Green Paper is open for comment until November 30th. The government plans to engage with industry stakeholders through a series of roundtable sessions during the next two months which will lead to the publication of a White Paper in mid-2024.
(Additional News Source: www.verticalmag.com)
(Top image: Electra.aero/Skyportz Image)