The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planning to introduce air taxis with top speeds of 320 km/hr, potentially reducing travel time between Dubai Airport and Palm Jumeirah from 30-45 minutes to just 10 minutes. Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the Public Transport Agency at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, highlighted the speed, range, and limited charging time of these vehicles, making them suitable for inter-emirates trips.
This air taxi project, a collaboration between Skyports, Joby (the aircraft operator), and the RTA, aims to launch in 2026, initially operating on Dubai routes. The partnership involves building vertiports for landing, and agreements were signed at the World Governments Summit 2024, bringing the project closer to reality.
Joby to launch air taxi service in UAE— Joby Aviation (@jobyaviation) February 11, 2024
We’ve signed a landmark agreement with the government of Dubai, granting Joby the exclusive right to operate air taxis in the Emirate.
The agreement brings together the three key ingredients for a successful air taxi service: a definitive… pic.twitter.com/eZM4yK0jZP
Ahmed mentioned that the RTA will provide end-to-end services at the vertiport, ensuring connectivity to the metro station and potentially offering a limo service. The Joby aircraft, showcased at the summit, features four passenger seats and one for the pilot, with plans for eventual autonomous operation. Running on electric energy, the aircraft takes only 10 minutes to recharge and produces minimal emissions.
JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby, revealed plans for flight testing in the UAE starting in 2025; the goal is to start commercial service in 2026. The airplane, flight-tested in the US since 2017, is undergoing safety certifications by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The boarding process for these air taxis is designed to be zero-touch, utilizing biometrics for security checks. Duncan Walker, CEO and co-founder of Skyports, highlighted the efficiency of the service as vertiports resemble airports but without the usual waiting times. The vertiports construction is scheduled to start in June with the one at Dubai Airport and they are expected to be in operation by the end of 2025.
The air taxi project aims to provide a seamless and time-efficient mode of transportation, contributing to the UAE’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and innovation.