The Positive Economic Impact of a New Industry: A Long Beach Case Study

October 20, 2023

A recently released report by the California State University, Long Beach, stated that Urban Air Mobility (UAM) “can increase urban transportation choices while contributing to sustainability and economic development.“ The study, commissioned by the Long Beach Economic Partnership, found that both users and non-users would enjoy these economic benefits. 

The report looked at the economic impact of an Urban Air Mobility network covering the city of Long Beach, California, and the greater Los Angeles-Orange County region. 

The construction of a twenty-vertiport network would generate “2,133 jobs, $174.0 million in labor income, and $423.6 million in economic output.” 

Once it is operational, the vertiport network would annually:

Generate $173.3 million in expenditures

Deliver $90.3 million in labor income 

Create 943 jobs 

You can read the full report here.

Urban Air Mobility as an Economic Stimulator

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) will do more than provide a new form of mobility. Communities hosting vertiports will benefit directly from the creation of thousands of high-paying and skilled jobs, as well as jobs created by the induced economic growth (e.g., new commerce around vertiports).

In the U.S. alone, Deloitte estimates that the AAM market will reach US$115 billion annually by 2035, creating more than 280,000 high-paying jobs. The State of Ohio estimates that the industry will create 15,000 new jobs and generate $11.4 billion in State GDP growth and $2.5 billion in tax revenue by 2045.

Capitalizing on Opportunity: Job Training

A new industry means new careers requiring new skills. With some operators planning initial UAM flights for 2025, now is the time for the industry, workforce development organizations, and educational institutions to focus on developing the UAM workforce.

Essential UAM personnel will range from Multi-Vehicle Supervisors to Passenger Experience professionals, as well as specialized maintenance personnel for both the aircraft and the supporting vertiport, and the electrical and communications infrastructure. More details on the various roles for UAM and autonomous UAM can be found in our recently published CONOPS.

These new positions also open up opportunities for individuals who may have been previously excluded from the aviation industry. For example, a remote pilot needs different training than the stick-and-rudder skills required for an onboard pilot. Certain new positions lend themselves to reasonable accommodations for individuals living with disabilities and, pending regulatory approval, may be licensed with shorter, more mission-specific training periods and experience requirements than those for existing pilot roles.

The economic benefits of Urban Air Mobility networks are clear, and with thoughtful implementation, the UAM industry can focus these benefits towards the communities and individuals who need them the most.