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Joby to launch air taxi service in the UAE
Skyports will design, construct and operate vertiports to provide critical infrastructure at key locations, while RTA will oversee and regulate AAM services and Joby will operate eVTOL air taxis.
Joby’s electric air taxi on display at the World Governments Summit in Dubai.
Read this story in our March 2024 printed issue.

Joby Aviation is to launch air taxi services in Dubai by early 2026, targeting initial operations as early as 2025.

An agreement with Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA), signed at the World Governments Summit in Dubai in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, provides Joby with the exclusive right to operate air taxis in Dubai for six years and will position Dubai as a world leader in delivering the fast, clean and quiet air travel enabled by Joby’s technology. The agreement secures a variety of support from the RTA, including financial mechanisms, for entry and maturing of service operations in Dubai.

CEO JoeBen Bevirt says: “It is an honour to partner with the government of Dubai to demonstrate the value of sustainable air travel to the world. This landmark agreement delivers on all three ingredients required to successfully launch an air taxi service; a definitive path to operations, well-placed infrastructure supported by dedicated partners and an aircraft with the capacity and range to deliver meaningful journeys. 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.”

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, director general, chairman of the board of executive directors for RTA, adds: “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. This service will also enhance seamless multimodal transportation, improving citywide connectivity and ensuring a smooth travel experience for passengers.”

Joby additionally signed an agreement with Skyports, which will design, build and operate four initial vertiport sites across Dubai. RTA, Skyports and Joby have identified Dubai International airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Dubai Downtown as the launch locations for the air taxi service.

Skyports CEO Duncan Walker says: “This marks a significant step towards the launch of commercial air taxi services in Dubai. The industry has never been closer to making it a reality. This agreement brings together the key enablers of advanced air mobility: strong, innovative local leadership; a world-leading aircraft partner; and critical ground infrastructure integrated with the Emirate’s existing transportation networks. The strategic positioning of our vertiports in key locations across Dubai will enhance connectivity and provide a faster travel option for residents and visitors. With the definitive agreement signed, now begins the exciting part – designing and building our vertiports.”

Joby's aircraft, which was displayed in the region for the first time at the World Governments Summit, is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and will be operated by the company, with a journey from Dubai International airport to Palm Jumeirah expected to take 10 minutes, compared to 45 minutes by car.

Joby and the RTA have been working closely with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE to ensure there is a regulatory route to support His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's vision of being a world leader in the introduction of air taxis. The GCAA regulatory framework builds upon FAA standards with additional company testing and analysis alongside a high level of regulator oversight and an ongoing operational review process to ensure continued safety for early operations.

RTA, Joby and Skyports will now work on a wide range of topics, from customer journey design to stakeholder engagement and the integration of Joby’s service into the wider public transport network. To support the development of these operations, Joby has established a local operating entity and intends to recruit locally for the majority of its operational team. The company will also consider localisation of other global business activities in Dubai and across the region. It recently said it will participate in the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster established by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office as part of exploring broader operations across the UAE.

In November 2023, Joby’s aircraft became the first electric air taxi to fly in New York City, building on a number of recent successes such as the launch of production at the initial manufacturing facility in California in June 2023 and the first delivery of an electric air taxi to the US Department of Defense in September 2023.

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