Dubai: Dh350 air taxi rides to cut travel time from 45 minutes to 10

As early as next year, the emirate’s commuters will have the option to fly over traffic jams


SM Ayaz Zakir

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KT Photos: Shihab
KT Photos: Shihab

Published: Fri 10 May 2024, 2:21 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 May 2024, 6:55 PM

Dubai residents will be able to fly across the city via air taxis in a few years — and the cost? Dh350 per passenger, Khaleej Times has learnt.

US-based aviation firm Joby gave KT a preview of the flying taxi that is expected to take off in Dubai by the end of 2025.

Riders are sure to enjoy breathtaking city views from the sky — but beyond the scenery, a flying cab becomes a practical choice for those who wish to zoom over traffic jams.

These aircraft can cut travel time between two locations in Dubai by nearly 70 per cent, said Bonny Simi, Joby's president of operations.

“It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to travel from Dubai [International] Airport to Palm Jumeirah by road. By an air taxi, it will just take about 10 to 12 minutes,” Simi said.

This futuristic ride can seat four passengers, plus the pilot. There's ample storage for baggage, too.

“These air taxis will offer Dubai residents a comfortable, hassle-free, and convenient travel experience,” said Simi.

With the aircraft flying at an altitude of 500 to 1,000 metres, passengers are in for a serene, scenic flight with noise levels at only 45 decibels.

“The altitude will depend on the travel distance. For a longer distance, the aircraft will fly for nearly 1,000 meters above the ground, and for a shorter distance, it will hover between 500 meters to 100 meters,” said Simi.

A pilot holding a commercial licence will be flying the aircraft after a six- to 8-week training programme tailored to the aircraft.

"[This training] ensures pilots are adept at navigating the skies safely and efficiently,” she said.

Passengers will be able to book their air taxi trips through an app that will be developed by Joby. They will also be able to reserve a ride on Uber. Even if only one passenger is on board, the air taxi will be ready to depart.

Bonny Simi
Bonny Simi

Charging between trips

The air taxi can also fully charge from 0 to 100 percent in just 10 minutes, Simi said.

"Upon landing at vertiports, ground staff will promptly connect the charging points before passengers disembark. Once new passengers board and the aircraft is prepared for takeoff, the plugs are swiftly removed, completing the charging process during the time between passenger transitions,” she added.

Like a helicopter, plane combined

The aircraft operates with "remarkable stability", according to the manufacturer.

It has the vertical takeoff capabilities of a helicopter, with the smooth acceleration of an plane.

“It is powered by six propulsion units, which seamlessly transition from vertical to horizontal orientation. It can swiftly reach speeds of up to 320kmph, covering distances of approximately 160km on a single charge."

The aircraft is equipped with six propellers and each of them has two motors.

“Each air taxi is equipped with 12 motors and four batteries, providing unparalleled reliability during flight,” said Simi, adding that safety is paramount.

In the initial stages, four vertiports are slated for construction in Dubai's key hubs, like the Dubai Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown, and Dubai Marina.

“In the future, we may have vertiports on top of towers. Many developers would want it within their community in the future as it can be a primary travel model for many,” said Simi.


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