The upcoming aircraft, fueled by electric energy, boasts rapid recharging times of just 10 minutes between flights and promises minimal emissions.
Expected to reach top speeds of 320 km/hr, these air taxis in the UAE hold the potential to significantly reduce travel time between Dubai Airport and Palm Jumeirah, cutting it from the current 30-45 minutes to a mere 10 minutes, as stated by Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the Public Transport Agency at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
Bahrozyan envisions broader applications for these aircraft, suggesting their suitability for inter-emirate travel due to their impressive range. However, the initial focus will be on operating within Dubai.
This pioneering air taxi project represents a collaborative effort between Skyports, responsible for constructing vertiports; Joby, the aircraft operator; and the RTA, tasked with managing the entire operation. Definitive agreements were formalized at the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024, signaling a significant step forward in bringing this innovative concept to fruition.
Projected to launch in 2026, the service aims to initially deploy six air taxis in Dubai. The RTA plans to ensure a seamless experience for passengers by offering end-to-end services at the vertiports, including connectivity to metro stations and potential limo services.
The Joby aircraft, showcased at the WGS, features four passenger seats and one pilot seat, with the potential for autonomous operation in the future. Powered by electric energy, the aircraft's rapid recharge time of 10 minutes ensures minimal downtime between flights, contributing to efficiency and sustainability.
Flight testing is scheduled to commence in the UAE in early 2025, with commercial services targeted for launch in 2026. The aircraft, which has undergone extensive testing in the US since 2017, is currently undergoing safety certification by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Vertiports, akin to airports but with minimal waiting times, will facilitate seamless boarding experiences for passengers, with zero-touch processes enabled by biometrics. Construction on the vertiports is set to commence in June, with the first hub expected to be operational by the end of 2025, promising a futuristic and efficient mode of urban transportation for residents and visitors alike.