Flying taxis to transport Haj pilgrims between Jeddah and Makkah

Saudia to buy 100 electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft from German aerospace company Lilium

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Published: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 2:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 2:12 PM

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) plans to operate air taxis to transport Haj and Umrah pilgrims between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and hotels in Makkah.

Saudi Arabia’s national airline is one of the first airlines in the Mena region to invest in sustainable air mobility with intentions to purchase 100 all-electric Lilium Jets, the German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

According to Abdullah Al Shahrani, director of corporate communications and spokesman of the Saudia Group, the carrier is preparing to use air taxis as a new mode of transportation during the Haj season.

Al Shahrani said that the flying taxis can transport four to six passengers and would shorten the time of flights, as they cover a maximum distance of 250 km. The aircraft also features a unique cabin that offers several options for seat arrangement.

The Saudia Group has contracted to purchase 100 Lilium jets to shuttle between the Jeddah airport and airstrips in Makkah hotels near the Grand Mosque and other holy places, reported local media.

With zero operating emissions, the Lilium Jet will enable sustainable and time-saving travel, allowing the national flag carrier to play its part in the country’s sustainable air mobility development strategy.

Saudia would also support Lilium with the necessary regulatory approval processes in the country for certification of the Lilium Jet and any other required regulatory approvals. As the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudia currently serves a network of more than 100 domestic and international destinations with its world-renowned service and hospitality.

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