Why does every family own a car but. In 1940s, one of the Nazi propaganda was to have every family own a car. That's how Volkswagon started in fact. German Labour Front party started Volkswagon in 1937 as a way to produce much more affordable cars to everyone. Cars at the time was only owned by 1 in 50 Germans. That's in stark contrast to 2 in 3 today. The vision was concrete and grabbed everyone's attention.

What about airplanes? It followed a similar invention trajectory as cars from the early 20th century. But it's never become affordable to ordinary households.

Historical Progress of Cars

Wrapped in Nazi Germany, Volkswagon presents such interesting case, I want to dive deep into it. Hitler's order was very clear and concrete. Deliver cars that fit 2 grown ups and 3 children. Another requirement was 100km/hour (Duesenberg Model SJ was the fasted car at 225km/hour around that time). The affordable cars were aimed at 8 month average salary price (at the time Mercedez costed more than 5 times of that).

That's the price reduction of 5 factors.

What about airplanes?

200,000 privately registered aircrafts are registered in US (including 11,000 business jets). Even though US represents the largest market share of jets (50%), that's still only 1 in 200 people who own a car. Owning a plane is still a rich man's business. The historical context is exactly like car ownership in 1900.

The obvious bottleneck is its price. We will set aside the private jet for now, which can start easily at $3 million. The standard propellor planes cost from $300,000. Most advocates for planes usually quote the used planes. But mass doesn't move by used planes. It has to be the brand new model.

What I am proposing is it will start to spread like fire once the price is reduced to below $100,000.

How did cars get so cheap?

It was a very expensive, difficult-to-operate machine in the 19th century. Then a series of innovations happened. Starting an engine was never that simple. It involved cranking a large shaft. It was replaced by a single button by Cadillac.

Then Henry Ford came in and made the manufacturing process much simpler. All these innovations made it possible to make cars available to mass.

It must coincided with the spread of cheap gasoline that replaced steam engine of cars.

What will happen once airplanes become cheap?

First, everyone will start taking license. That's not hard as long as planes are cheap. When you see the affordable price, you start seeing various possibility. Second is the spread of infrastructure. There'll be a lot more airports to be established across everywhere. Third, and fairly obviously people will start traveling a lot more frequently. Living in North America, international flight isn't that common. But in Europe it's much easier to cross the border. In fact, London and Paris are connected with a train. With private planes however, you can have a family trip easily from London to Dubai for example. As family, it'll be much more pleasant experience than trying to calm down your 2 year old babies.

Planes in the future must get cheaper. It could be either with alternative fuel source than the current gasoline, simpler manufacturing, and simple operational experience.