Airport to island in 15 mins: Flying taxis to take off in 2027; cut travel time

Ras Al Khaimah tourism has signed an agreement with Skyports Infrastructure to introduce air taxis in the emirate


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Tue 7 May 2024, 1:37 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 May 2024, 10:07 PM

Ras Al Khaimah will get flying taxis starting 2027. On Tuesday, authorities announced that they had signed an agreement with Skyports Infrastructure to develop a network of vertiports to connect key attractions across the emirate.

The announcement came on the second day of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) at a press conference where Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority and Skyports Infrastructure signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Speaking at the event, CEO of RAKTDA Raki Phillips said that air taxis were “the future of mobility” and explained what this will mean to visitors. “The idea is to be able to take tourists around in such a short time,” he said. “This will cut the travel time from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport to Marjan Island to between 15-18 minutes.”

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Under the agreement RAKTA, RAKTDA and Skyports will collaboratively design, develop, and operate Ras Al Khaimah's first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi ecosystem, with commercial operations set to commence by 2027.

Location of vertiports

The vertiports will be built in four strategic locations — Ras Al Khaimah international airport, Al Marjan Island, Al Hamra and Jebel Jais. Once completed, the time taken to travel from Al Marjan Island to Jebel Jais will be cut short to 20 minutes — a trip that usually takes 70 minutes by car.

Speaking at the event, Daniel O’Neill, Regional Manager for Skyports commended the RAK government for the move and shared his vision. “I look forward to the day when I will be sipping on a coffee at Al Marjan Island and then, 20 minutes later, being at the heights of Jebel Jais and sipping on the same coffee,” he said.

Esmaeel Hasan Al Blooshi, Director General of RAKTA added that the Skyports will be fully integrated with the existing transportation network. “We will provide safe, reliable, green and seamless transportation,” he said. “We are excited to enhance the connectivity for our tourists and residents.”

These ambitions align with Skyports’ design approach, which prioritises integration with existing public transit networks to promote more sustainable transportation.

Developing RAK

The vertiport network will transform transportation in Ras Al Khaimah and support its objective of responsibly driving 3.5 million visitors annually by 2030. According to Raki, the objective is to “triple the number of tourists and double the number of hotels in the next five years.”

The initiative directly addresses the need for innovative solutions to cut carbon emissions in ground transportation, a sector that accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the travel and tourism industry, as highlighted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Furthermore, it will unlock future opportunities to integrate with air taxi networks across the UAE. Dubai had earlier announced that air taxis will be launched in the emirate in 2026. Earlier this year, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had signed agreements with Skyports and aircraft operator Joby to launch six air taxis.


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