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Dubai’s RTA partners with Joby Aviation to launch world-first air taxis in the emirate by 2025

15 May 2024 by Yi-Hwa Hanna
Dubai’s RTA partners with Joby Aviation to launch air taxis in the emirate by 2025 (Image supplied by: GS PR)

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has partnered with US-based venture-backed aviation company Joby Aviation to release what is currently set to be the world’s first air taxi service in the emirate by 2025. The partnership grants Joby the exclusive right to operate air taxis in Dubai for six years, and aligns with Dubai’s commitment towards sustainability by enabling the emirate to deliver “fast, clean and quiet air travel enabled by Joby’s revolutionary technology” to residents and visitors alike.

JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said: “It is an honour to partner with the government of Dubai to demonstrate the value of sustainable air travel to the world.”

Skyports - Dubai’s RTA partners with Joby Aviation to launch air taxis in the emirate by 2025 (Image supplied by: GS PR)

Chairman of the board of executive directors for RTA, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, also commented on the agreement, saying: “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.”

The service will initially be offered with four vertiport sites across Dubai, which will be designed, built, and operated by Skyports, following which future expansion plans will see them rolled out over time across Dubai, and hopefully across the rest of the UAE as well. The first four vertiport sites will be located at Dubai International airport (DXB), Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Downtown Dubai. The new air taxis should enable customers to significantly cut travel times, with a journey from Dubai International airport to the Palm Jumeirah to take twelve minutes rather than the usual 45. Through smart engineering, the electric air taxis are also designed to be extremely quiet, emitting a noise of only up to 45 decibels. Through to its large windows, passengers will also be able to enjoy exceptional views.

Skyports - Dubai’s RTA partners with Joby Aviation to launch air taxis in the emirate by 2025 (Image supplied by: GS PR)

Once launched, users will be able to book the service through a mobile app. The cost of booking a seat for a journey will be comparable to no more than other typical premium car-based ride-sharing apps. Customers will need only book it online, show up at a terminal – which they will be able to pass through security checks for within minutes – then take one of the four seats in each aircraft. Each aircraft will be flown by a pilot that has been trained and licensed with a process commensurate with that for a commercial airplane pilot.

Among the various benefits to the service are the fact that it is emissions-free when it’s operating, leading to more sustainable travel – and the fact that it should help take people off the roads, which will help with road-based traffic. In terms of safety, there is plenty of redundancy built in, from additional battery packs, to wings that enable the aircraft to glide if need be. The aircraft is designed to fly in basically all weather conditions, and with each aircraft only flying to around 500 to 1,000 ft, in the event of an emergency landing, it would be able to land on the ground extremely quickly – within less than a minute.

Dubai’s RTA partners with Joby Aviation to launch air taxis in the emirate by 2025 (Image supplied by: GS PR)

In 2023, Joby’s aircraft became the first electric air taxi to fly in New York City. The aircraft are designed and built at Joby’s headquarters in California, where the company’s initial manufacturing facility is based.

rta.ae
jobyaviation.com

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