Insider Transportation: the hottest startups ready to make flying cars real, the 737 MAX returns, and more

LiliumIf you can’t wait for the ROI from a flying car manufacturer like Lilium, consider investing in one of the startups building up the young industry’s supply chain.

Of all the wild truths that have emerged over the first 11 months of the year 2020, one of the few that sits closer to exhilarating than exasperating is that the flying car is just a few years away. That waiting time doesn’t seem so bad when you consider that this concept is nearly as old as the aeroplane itself, but we know that investors interested in this emerging space may not be the most patient of folk.

Which is why we talked to some of the top VCs and analysts watching the nascent aeromobility market for their take on which startups are poised to take off in the near term — not by building or operating aircraft, but by providing the myriad technologies and services that will underpin this flying car future.

As Cyrus Sigari, the cofounder of the aeromobility-focused venture-capital firm UP.Partners, told us: “There’s a rather large world of things for people to invest in that isn’t a flying car or eVTOL company but which still offers exposure to the future of moving people and goods in all three dimensions.”

Read our list of the six hottest startups that can make flying cars happen right here, get more of the week’s transportation news below, and if you haven’t yet, sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox every week.

Oh, and a programming note: We’re busy building our 2020 list of rising stars in the world of self-driving cars. If you know someone under 30 years old who’s helping ditch the human driver (or you fit that description), tell us about them right here.

The Max is back

Nearly two years after being grounded following two crashes that killed a combined 346 people, Boeing’s 737 Max jet is back — sort of. This week, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive that overturns the order that has kept nearly 400 Max jets on the ground since March 2019. But like Rick Grimes waking up from a coma, the Max is returning to a very different world, in which airlines once desperate for the jet are reckoning with a pandemic that has devastated their businesses.

The E-Transit’s play for a $US750 billion market

When most automotive execs talks about a shift to electric vehicles, they focus on how individual customers will feel about giving up on internal combustion: how much battery power they will need to avoid range anxiety, how and where they will charge their cars. Newly installed Ford CEO Jim Farley is fixated on something else: how to turn Ford’s latest electric, the E-Transit cargo van, into a big data behemoth that could bring home a significant chunk of a market that could soon be worth $US750 billion.

6 cargo airlines and freight operators poised to win big when the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are ready to go

When it comes to the news that both Pfizer and Moderna have developed vaccines promising protection against COVID-19, humanity as a whole is the big winner. But some people will see more benefits than others, especially those running the companies that will be charged with (and will charge for) distributing those vaccines. Here are the airlines and freight operators best positioned to master the logistics of moving this precious cargo, and reaping the rewards.

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