Soon, travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 10 minutes with Dh800 air taxi ride

Within the next 18 to 24 months, UAE passengers will be able to hail a flying taxi, says expert


Waheed Abbas

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 12:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 May 2024, 12:31 PM

Once air taxis are out flying in UAE skies, going from Dubai to Abu Dhabi could take just 10 to 20 minutes — with the ride costing about Dh800 to Dh1,500, Khaleej Times has learnt.

A top official from flying taxi company Archer Aviation on Thursday explained how the service would work in the country. Khaleej Times recently reported that the futuristic ride could cost a passenger about Dh350 when going from point A to point B in Dubai.

Nikhil Goel, chief commercial officer of Archer Aviation, agreed that such trips within cities would hover between Dh300 to Dh350 — but if a commuter is going from one emirate to another, then the fare would range from Dh800 to Dh1,500.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

Highlighting the convenience, Goel said that with air taxis, the 60- to 90-minute drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi could turn into a ride that's just 10 to 20 minutes long.

The ultra-rich could avail of high-end service, too, and book private air taxis, Goel said.

The official also confirmed that with certification now in the final stages, the company could be ready to launch their air taxis by the end of 2025.

"Within the next 18 to 24 months, you are going to see passengers here in the UAE flying on our aircraft from one point to another," Goel said.

Nikhil Goel
Nikhil Goel

What we know about this futuristic taxi

In April, Archer Aviation received multimillion-dollar investments from Abu Dhabi to manufacture its Midnight aircraft and establish its international headquarters in the UAE Capital. The investments were also aimed at constructing vertiports in critical locations throughout Abu Dhabi and accelerating Archer’s launch of commercial air taxi operations in the UAE.

Archer’s Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between trips.

The aircraft will fly between 500 and 3,000 meters above the ground. “It will fly around 500 metres in remote areas and can go as high as 3,000 to 4,000 metres in urban areas,” Goel said.

Routes for flying taxis are still being ironed out with aviation authorities but many of them have already been defined as helicopter routes. “Those routes will be optimised to circumvent some of the tall buildings in tourist sites," the official said.

The air taxis will be operating within the existing helicopter avionics. “We work with Dubai air traffic control and Abu Dhabi air traffic control to make sure that we stay within the lanes that have already been designated for helicopters.

Hiring soon

The US-based firm recently signed a deal with Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etihad Aviation Training (EAT) to recruit and train prospective pilots for its Midnight aircraft.

Archer Aviation said it would hire both Emirati and expatriate pilots to fly air taxis.

The company would work with EAT to determine the initial number of candidates they would be taking in, Goel said. “The plan would be to deploy those pilots across a fleet of Midnight aircraft operating in the region after they've completed training.”

Replying to a query about the requirements for candidates who are keen to apply for the role of pilots, he said.

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) “is determining” the requirements and guidelines on how people can apply as a flying taxi pilot.

While details on these pilots' salary are yet to be clarified, Goel said compensation would be “in line with the standard compensation of commercial pilots who operate small aircraft".

According to the US-based Phoenix East Aviation, which trains pilots from various countries, the median annual salary of a small non-jet aircraft pilot is about $85,000 (Dh311,950) a year. However, they could vary from one country to another.

Launch date, safety

Archer Aviation is now in the final stages of certification — reportedly on track for a commercial launch by the end of 2025.

“The reason I am able to say that is because of the partnership we got with the GCAA, which has put in a lot of effort and resources to make this happen. The GCAA is operating the same safety standards as the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the US," Goel said.

In terms of safety, the certification will be with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the GCAA and the metrics will be equal to the standards used for a commercial airline.

“From a statistics perspective, flying in our aircraft would be just like flying in Emirates aircraft. It is going to be governed by the FAA, GCAA, and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India). Secondly, the avionics we are using is the same as of the other planes,” he said.

“We are going to have our airworthiness criteria published by the FAA by the end of this month," Goel said.

He assured that Archer’s Midnight aircraft is equipped with rotors and the propellers can operate independently from batteries. Hence, they could safely land in an emergency on both the rooftop and runway.


More news from UAE