(Bloomberg) -- Honeywell International Inc. sees the first electric aircraft that take off like helicopters and fly like airplanes beginning commercial flights in 2025, but no air taxi boom until closer to the end of the decade. 

Early cases for electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, craft will be mostly limited to military and cargo applications, Mike Madsen, the head of Honeywell’s aerospace business, said at a Jefferies conference. Passenger service is still years away and will likely require a pilot for the foreseeable future, but Madsen said air taxis will ultimately be the catalyst for double-digit growth in the nascent industry. 

“There will be some initial vehicles introduced that’ll be used for some limited use cases maybe under some pretty strict requirements, and then it will take off,” said Madsen, who expects Honeywell’s eVTOL equipment-related sales to grow to about $2 billion by 2030. “It’s going to be really slow at the beginning”

The promise of more nimble aircraft that use multiple electric motors, which are quieter, safer and less expensive to maintain than a helicopter’s internal combustion engine, has attracted a number of startups as well as traditional aerospace manufacturers. The passenger market alone could grow to as much as $1 trillion by 2040, and some $3 trillion including military and cargo, according to JPMorgan Chase analyst Marcelo Motta. Even eVTOL producers that have made the most progress have many regulatory hurdles remaining and some experts say certification for pilot-less flights is likely many years away.

“The regulation is going to be the challenge, not the technology,” Madsen said.

--With assistance from Alan Levin.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.