While the commercial aerospace industry has been gravely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, all-electric aircraft offer companies within supply chains an option to aid recovery. For example, Toray Industries supplies carbon fibre materials for aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Boeing 787 and Airbus A380. As airlines have cut orders for these aircraft due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies such as Toray Industries within the supply chain stand to lose revenue. However, on 14 July, it was announced that Toray Industries and Lilium, a German electric aircraft start-up, have signed an agreement for the supply of carbon fibre composites.

GlobalData associate analyst Harry Boneham comments: “This agreement demonstrates the opportunity for suppliers offered by all-electric aircraft. As conventional aircraft production has stalled, all-electric aircraft could serve as a source of business for struggling suppliers. The mode of flight offered by all-electric aircraft would be attractive in the post-Covid-19 market. Trends observed after previous crises such as 9/11 indicate that demand for smaller, narrow-body aircraft recovers quicker than demand for large, wide-body aircraft. This corresponds to the gradual increase in passenger demand volume, with larger aircraft requiring a high volume of passengers to be rendered profitable. Extrapolating this trend, arguably the short, small, cheap flights offered by all-electric aircraft would meet customer demand in the near-term.”

Furthermore, all-electric aircraft such as these will be available in the near term. MagniX, a pioneer in all-electric aircraft development, expects Federal Aviation Administration (FAA certification) in late 2021. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects that air passenger volume will recover to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2023. These coinciding timeframes lend credence to the notion that all-electric aircraft could be included within the post-Covid-19 recovery of the commercial aerospace industry. Such an inclusion would widen the commercial aerospace industry to include travel solutions on regional, national and global scales, and would add opportunities within commercial aerospace supply chains. Traditional components such as turboshafts and fuel systems would be supplemented by novel components such as electric motors and batteries.

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