Air Taxi

Q&A With the New CFO of Overair

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Overair recently announced the appointment of a new CFO, Tom Whayne. He previously served as chief strategy officer of Maxar Technologies and as CFO of OneWeb.

CFO Tom Whayne (Photo: Overair)

Tom Whayne discussed the company’s goals and current efforts in a recent interview with Avionics International. Check out our question-and-answer session with Overair’s new CFO below.

“We’re focused, first and foremost, on developing a superior aircraft with the most payload capacity: our Butterfly.” (Photo: Overair)

Avionics: What brought you into the new role with the company?

Tom Whayne: I joined Overair for two principal reasons. It’s an opportunity to be part of an effort that is going to launch a whole new mode of transportation. The industry in general, and Overair in particular, is revolutionizing transportation. We’re creating sustainable solutions for advanced air mobility. To be part of that opportunity really excited me.

The second big thing is the team. Our co-founder and CEO Ben Tigner, and our co-founder and Chief Technology Advisor, Abe Karem, have been partners for a long time. They really pulled together an amazing team at Overair, including the recent appointment of Dr. Valerie Manning, a former senior executive at Airbus, as our Chief Commercial Officer. 

What do you hope to achieve in the short- and medium-term as CFO?

Whayne: I have three main priorities. The first thing is scaling the company for commercialization. Second, exploring partnerships with various players on both the commercial side as well as the manufacturing side, which will be important to us going forward. Finally, working with the entire Overair management team to build the foundation to execute upon and prepare for future financings which the company will need to undertake.

How would you describe the current state of the eVTOL industry? How do you see it evolving over the next five or ten years?

Clearly, the eVTOL market provides an opportunity for multiple companies, in our view, to have very successful businesses—given the significant market potential. There are industry observers like Morgan Stanley that expect this eVTOL industry to represent an addressable market in excess of a trillion dollars (or greater than that) by 2040. That’s going to create enormous opportunity for multiple players.

Could you speak to the company’s efforts to ensure safety and reliability for the aircraft and how those considerations might factor into the bigger picture of the financial strategy?

Butterfly, by design, will be an extremely safe vehicle given the fundamentals of our designs and the redundancy of the Butterfly aircraft’s systems. eVTOLs have simplified vehicle operations for pilots, which really speaks to the focus on safety. Our commercial strategy is to build the best aircraft on the most efficient path and certification, and to be a fast follower to market. 

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