UAE: Soon, travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in just 30 minutes by flying taxis

A US-based company is developing an eVTOL aircraft for commercial passenger service and is expected to start operations by 2025 or early 2026


Ashwani Kumar

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KT Photos: Ashwani Kumar
KT Photos: Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 25 Apr 2024, 7:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Apr 2024, 10:03 PM

Flying taxis will cut travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to just 30 minutes, industry experts said, while highlighting the UAE being at the forefront of the urban mobility revolution.

Joby Aviation, a US-based company developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service, is expected to start operations of air taxis by 2025 or early 2026.

“Our aircraft will be able to fly between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 30 to 35 minutes,” an executive from Joby Aviation told Khaleej Times during DRIFTx – the world’s only smart and autonomous mobility and transport event – held at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit.

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JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation, during a panel discussion, noted that the momentum seen in the UAE regarding creating infrastructure and certifying autonomous aircraft has been fantastic.

“The UAE has been able to expedite moves on building critical infrastructure,” Bevirt said and underlined that safety and noise control have been key considerations for Joby Aviation.

In February, Joby Aviation announced a signing agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to launch air taxi services in the Emirate by early 2026.

Other companies like eVTOL developer Archer Aviation and UAE’s aviation services operator Falcon Aviation have already announced plans to develop vertiport infrastructure for critical locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Also, both Joby and Archer have signed up for Abu Dhabi's Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster established by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).

During DRIFTx, Archer announced the signing of a framework agreement to accelerate planned commercial air taxi operations in the UAE, slated to launch as soon as next year with its Midnight aircraft.

Key components of Archer’s collaboration with ADIO include vertiport construction, operational enablement for air taxi operations in the UAE, and in-country manufacturing of Midnight aircraft. Under the agreement, ADIO will ensure local workforce development programmes for Emirati talent and facilitate the establishment of Archer’s international headquarters and centre of excellence in Abu Dhabi.

“This substantial agreement with Abu Dhabi is a pivotal moment for Archer’s commercialisation efforts across the Emirates, as it provides the catalyst to accelerate the launch of our electric air taxi service in the UAE as soon as late 2025,” said Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein.

Meanwhile, visitors to the DRIFTx were treated to what the future holds. There were Automated Rapid Transit (ART), TAXI self-driving taxis sporting the new livery, and driverless minibus to ferry visitors from one end to another. In between, visitors could check out the sea, air, and land demos of different innovative solutions in action. Once inside the exhibition area, top global companies showcased prototypes of flying taxis, driverless cars, drones, and several innovative systems, including visitors partaking in a real-time streaming demo of driving on the streets of South Korea.


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