VTOL market expected to grow six-fold by 2028

The fixed-wing VTOL market is expected to grow six-fold over the next ten years, generating sales revenues of almost $14 billion by 2028, according to a recent BIS study.

As we see new civilian and military VTOL projects being announced almost weekly, BIS Research analysis expects rising demand across all sectors to drive a CAGR of 21.7% during 2018-2028. BIS Research estimates the current value of the market at approximately $2 billion.

Defence missions, faster travel, runway-less platforms and rising demand for UAVs in the agricultural sector are seen as some of the biggest drivers for the fixed-wing VTOL market.

The biggest demand for fixed-wing VTOLs right now is in the military market, with Boeing securing more than 250 orders for its V-22 Osprey VTOL at a list price of $78 million. However, Bell is developing a cheaper alternative – the Bell V280 – and is considering developing a civilian variant.

The success of VTOLs and UAVs in the military sector has prompted manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing to develop fixed-wing VTOL aircraft for private and air-taxi utilisation. Most of these aircraft will also feature autonomous flight, drawing influence from the booming hobby drone market.

Private and air-taxi VTOLs are a mix of fixed-wing and rotor powered. With Boeing’s Aurora VTOL being fixed-wing and Airbus’s Vahana and CityAirbus being rotor-driven. Whilst many of the private and air-taxi VTOLs in development right now are rotorcraft, start-ups such as XTI Aircraft and Lilium are building fixed-wing VTOLs.

The study suggests that hybrid VTOLs are expected to see the highest growth-rate over the period, including personal VTOL aircraft such as the XTI TriFan 600.

Whilst North America held the biggest market share for VTOLs in 2017 – predominantly due to its substantial military orders – BIS Research expects Asia-Pacific to have the highest growth rate during the 2018-2028 forecast period.