MIAMI – According to a new paper from the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM), the Greater Toronto Area can be an early user of Advanced Air Mobility.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) encompasses both Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Regional Air Mobility (RAM) and builds upon the recent development of electric battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies to create aircraft that operate with zero emissions. 

As such, many see AAM, estimated to be a trillion-dollar global industry, as the next step in regional air transportation. Specifically, these new air transportation concepts are expected to fly people and cargo between places that are not conveniently served by surface transportation, ie for rural areas to get needed prescription medication, allow people to commute between neighboring cities, or even transport much-needed produce into remote communities.

Quiet, lightweight Zero Emission aircraft like electronic Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, generally known as drones) will alter commuter and cargo travel in the Greater Toronto Area in the coming years.

According to the study, Toronto will use AAM to carry patients, drugs, defibrillators, blood, organs, personal protective equipment, and radioisotopes for cancer treatment. Because AAM planes take-off faster than helicopters, patients suffering from life-threatening emergencies in rural areas of the Golden Horseshoe will be transported to the nearest trauma hospital faster.

Furthermore, adopting AAM aircraft will save the healthcare system a lot of money because they are less expensive to buy, operate, and maintain than helicopters.

Image: CAAM

Toronto Regional Air Transportation

The study also finds that AAM can open new types of regional air transportation services, such as convenient, zero-emission flights between city pairs that are now too far apart for airlines to make a profit.

Passengers will fly from Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to destinations such as Kitchener, Peterborough, Barrie, Buffalo, Rochester, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Cleveland on short, quiet flights.

In terms of traffic reduction, the strategic deployment of AAM aircraft for delivery operations can remove thousands of trucks from the roadways, the study says, trucks that frequently block entire lanes during rush hour.

In a range of efficient aircraft flying above traffic, cargo as diverse as heavy freight, depot-to-depot, retail goods, and just-in-time deliveries can be delivered with a minimal footprint, meaning significant reductions in carbon emissions, noise, and road wear and tear. The new aircraft are currently being developed and tested, with some expected to be certified as soon as 2024.

Image: CAAM

Toronto’s AAM Opportunity

Toronto’s likelihood of being an early AAM user is determined by numerous characteristics, according to the study: high GDP, severe road congestion, world-class medical facilities, robust tech, strong financial and STEM educational sectors, and a thriving aerospace industry currently in place.

JR Hammond, Executive Director of CAAM, said, “Advanced Air Mobility is the next exponential leap in aviation. CAAM, as the national voice for the future of zero-emission aviation, is bringing the knowledge and expertise to the greater Toronto region in helping craft the equitable, inclusive, and sustainable air transportation of our future.”

CAAM is a Federal Not For Profit organization that is helping structure what sustainable air transportation will look like in Canada. The consortium has partnered with over 50 member organizations ranging from industry, investors, infrastructure, and academia as well as all three levels of the Canadian government to launch projects aimed at getting the Advanced Air Mobility industry off the ground.

Featured image: An concept aircraft over the Toronto skyline. Photo: CAAM