Flying taxis in UAE: How much a ride could cost, when the cabs will take off

Here’s a look at all you’d like to know about Air Taxis right from its imminent operations, to costs and benefits


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sat 2 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 5 Dec 2023, 3:05 PM

The UAE's Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) initiatives and expected certification advancements in the upcoming year will now help people bypass traffic, allowing them to travel across the Emirates in nearly half the time compared to current travel durations.

Here’s a look at all you’d like to know about Air Taxis right from its imminent operations, to costs and benefits.

When will the UAE see the launch of Air Taxis?

By the first quarter of 2026, the UAE is set to experience all-electric air taxis, ready to take flight in its skies. The country’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) initiatives and certification developments will commence next year.

Which emirate is preparing for the introduction of Air Taxi services?

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Archer Aviation which is a California-based aircraft company, alongside several aviation industry frontrunners in the region such as Falcon Aviation, a helicopter charter service, and GAL-AMMROC, (Advanced Military Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Center) joined forces in a signing event earlier.

Archer is set to operate its fully electric air taxi service throughout the UAE. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has pledged to be the inaugural partner, aiming for a 2026 launch for its eVTOL aircraft.

What are the advantages of Air Taxis?

First, since it is fully electric this will have zero emissions. The second imminent advantage is time efficiency. Third is the ease of people's movement from one place to another which means travelling between cities will become much easier. Fourth, saving time will lead to increased productivity. Fifth, it will create new investment and job opportunities. Sixth, is to connect to areas that are hard to reach. Finally, it will enhance emergency response.

How much time will Air taxis save?

Residents and tourists will have the option to bypass traffic and travel across the Emirates, saving 40 per cent of their time, say experts. The existing overland trip spans approximately an hour and a half to two hours because of traffic between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. However, air taxis have the potential to notably cut down travel time to less than 20 minutes.

What will be the cost of Air Taxis?

The cost of air taxi services is expected to be akin to the top tier of luxury ground rideshare options like Uber Black or Uber Comfort. As it expands to a larger scale, the pricing may align more with the affordability of Uber X.

What agreements were solidified by urban air mobility companies during the recently concluded Airshow for the operation of air taxis in the Middle East?

During the Airshow, Archer additionally inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air Chateau International, a private heliport operator situated in DWC. Air Chateau has disclosed intentions to establish an air taxi network spanning the Middle East. This follows their announcement of plans to acquire approximately 100 of Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft, estimating a value of around $500 million.

Earlier, VPorts and Ras Al Khaimah Airport (RAK) reached an agreement to construct and oversee a vertiport, enabling urban air mobility services to operate to and from the RAK airport.

What are the company’s immediate and future plans regarding the acquisition of the Midnight aircraft (eVTOL is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft) in the region, and what steps are outlined for the finalization of the purchase agreements?

The company intends to possess and manage the Midnight aircraft in the region. Additionally, it has announced its intention to issue an initial non-reimbursable pre-delivery payment of $1 million by December 31 of this year. The finalized contracts for the acquisition, amounting to $4 million in pre-delivery payments, will be officially arranged in the upcoming months.

Air taxis offer a promising future for urban mobility, but what are the several challenges?

Integrating air taxis into existing airspace regulations and ensuring safety standards are met can be complex. Developing the necessary infrastructure such as vertiports (landing and takeoff pads), charging stations, and air traffic control systems within urban areas presents significant difficulties. Additionally, air taxis rely on advanced technologies that need further development and testing to ensure reliability and safety. Sometimes, the noise generated by eVTOLs could be a concern, especially in densely populated urban areas.


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