The US-based all-electric aircraft manufacturer, Joby Aviation, has announced that it has signed a ‘definite agreement’ with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), setting a launch date for air taxi services in the Emirate.
According to the Joby Aviation statement, released on February 11, 2024, the parties agreed to start air taxi services by early 2026, with the manufacturer aiming for initial operation to begin as early as 2025. Under the terms of the agreement, the developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft has won an exclusive right to operate air taxis in Dubai for a six-year period with an opportunity to lay the groundwork for further expansion across the UAE in the future.
“We’re looking forward to delivering an incredible experience for residents and visitors to Dubai as early as 2025 and we’re excited to be laying the groundwork for the expansion of our service across the wider UAE,” said JoeBen Bevirt, the founder and CEO of Joby Aviation.
Aiming to position Dubai as the world leader in fast, quiet, and efficient urban air travel, the RTA has granted Joby Aviation a package of various support, which includes financial mechanisms. This should ensure the manufacturer smooth entry and development of air taxi services across the most populous city of the UAE.
“The air taxi service is part of RTA’s efforts to embrace future transportation technologies and offers a novel and efficient mobility option for Dubai’s residents and visitors, enabling fast, safe, and convenient travel to key city spots,” said Mattar Al Tayer, the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors for RTA.
Aside from the agreement with the transportation authority, Joby Aviation has also entered into a separate agreement with Skyports, which will design and construct four initial vertiport sites across the city. Currently, Joby has selected Dubai International Airport (DXB), Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Dubai Downtown as its launch locations for the new service.
What do we know about Joby Aviation’s eVTOL aircraft so far?
Built for a piloted on-demand air taxi service purpose, the Joby eVTOL aircraft is designed to fly up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) on a single charge at a top speed of 200 miles per hour (around 320 kilometers per hour). According to the manufacturer, the potential pioneer of urban air mobility in Dubai is capable of carrying a single pilot and four passengers.
The full-scale prototype aircraft has flown already over 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) and is currently undergoing a multi-year testing program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain certification for commercial passenger operations. It has already completed the initial two stages of the five required for certification.
Most recently, on February 8, 2024, Joby Aviation received the Part 145 Maintenance Certificate from the FAA, laying the foundation for future maintenance, repair, and overhaul services (MRO) for its eVTOL aircraft fleet.
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