FISITA PLUS 2020 - Sameer Savani: Maturing the UK Urban Air Mobility Industry



July 2020

Sameer Savani, Head of Innovation and Engineering, ADS, will be speaking at FISITA PLUS on Thursday 23 July about “Maturing the UK Urban Air Mobility Industry”. We asked him a few questions prior to the event.


1. What are the major projects you and your organisation are currently working on?

Priority for ADS across all segments of Aerospace is around Rescue, Restart and Recovery

We are working with Government, understanding and acting on specific industry concerns, and advising our Members, on actions to take to secure UK Aerospace business survival and success through this unprecedented period where global aviation has been placed in an induced coma.

Within ADS’s asks, is the push for significant increase in sustainability technologies, included Aerospace R&D and Sustainable Aviation Fuels, to ensure the anticipated recovery of the sector is a green recovery.

2. How has your work been affected by coronavirus?

Our Aerospace Members have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, caused both by the lockdown measures on businesses’ ability to operate, but also the downturn in orders that has resulted from the grounding of the world’s aircraft fleet.

ADS’s work has significantly orientated towards supporting the industry through this situation, but at the same time, remaining focussed on post COVID expectations on the industry to come out of this Greener and more competitive.

The A&D industry has also played an instrumental role in mitigating the impacts of the pandemic, both through the production of vital PPE and Ventilators through technology innovation and new collaborations across the industry.

ADS Group itself had to cancel this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, and taken much of the content of that event online through FIA Connect. One of the key benefits we bring to members is of networking and face-to-face business development activities. We have adapted to more digital ways of working, some if which will endure in the “new normal”, but the effectiveness of our work is largely built on bringing stakeholder together to discuss and agree on key issues and opportunities.

3. How long do you expect the impact of coronavirus will last and what long-term effects will it have on the areas of the industry that you focus on?

Sustainability will be brought into even sharper focus as Aerospace and Aviation recovers, and we are working hard to develop plans around how the industry can take this opportunity to become a world leader in sustainable aviation.

It is impossible to say what the recovery trajectory will be, but we do not expect a V shaped recovery with the upturn matching the pace of the downturn. Consensus seems to be a 2-5 year recovery period, with that window being refined through constant analysis.

The long term opportunity is to build a truly sustainable aviation industry, but that will require new investment from government and industry, and influencing the international agenda when it comes to environmental targets. The UK has the opportunity and capability to lead the world in this green recovery.

Everything we are seeing in terms of UAM is that the UK sector is keen to carry on developing fast in this area – the pandemic has not changed the market fundamentals that were driving this new industry, as a result of the pandemic. The way the industry will develop will be shaped by the ability of well-funded start-ups to get back to business as usual in terms of ways of working, the state of capital and VC markets to invest in new and early stage start-up, and the R&D liquidity available to Aerospace incumbents, given the direct impacts of CV19 on their profitability.

4. What are you planning on talking about at FISITA PLUS and what types of people do you think will benefit from what you have to say?

I will be discussing the current state of the UAM industry, and the UK activity taking place to address that exciting opportunity. The industry is perhaps entering a critical phase, where we may see consolidation in the market, and real strides made by those that will be winners in their future market. We are seeing indicators that we are getting past the ‘hype’ of flying taxis, and getting closer to the ‘hope’ that these new vehicles and service promise to offer.

The UK is in a strong position to capitalise on the UAM opportunity, having all the ingredients that enable such a sector to thrive, both operationally here in the UK but also as an exporter of high value technology, products and services. We can lead the world if we collectively decide to do so.

Sameer will be presenting Maturing the UK Urban Air Mobility Industry with Lawrence Blakeley, Head of Power Supply and Systems Installation, Vertical Aerospace. There is a Spotlight post with Lawrence's answers to the above questions here.

Register to attend the Leadership Interview and Closing Keynotes session including Sameer’s presentation on Thursday 23 July here.

FISITA PLUS is happening every Thursday throughout July. Find out more in a recent LinkedIn post by FISITA CEO Chris Mason. Replays of the first two sessions and registration for tomorrow and next week with a choice of European morning and afternoon sessions (to suit attendees in different time zones) are available as follows: