UAE: Air taxi firm looking to set up manufacturing facility in region

Like Silicon Valley, Dubai is also open to the freedom to explore new ideas and concepts, says chairman


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 4:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 5:12 PM

The US-based firm Joby Aviation, which develops all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service, is exploring opportunities to set up manufacturing facility in the UAE and other countries in the region, a senior official said on Monday.

“We have a manufacturing line in California and Ohio, and we received $330 million in incentives. We are in active conversation with the region about opportunities for manufacturing in the region. And UAE is among the countries (to set up manufacturing unit),” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, told Khaleej Times in an interview on Monday.

Joby Aviation on Sunday signed a definitive agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to launch air taxi services in the emirate by early 2026, with Joby targeting initial operations as early as 2025.

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In November 2023, Joby’s aircraft became the first electric air taxi to fly in New York City. Joby is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has raised more than $2 billion of funding to date, including investments from Toyota, Delta Air Lines, SK Telecom, Uber and Baillie Gifford.

Bevirt said the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai has delivered on three critical components – infrastructure, regulatory policy and aircraft with the right specifications – to deliver a game-changing experience for customers.

Dubai is one of the leading cities in the world that aggressively pursue an air taxi transport system, to offer residents and visitors a new mode of travel and to stay ahead of the competition.

Abu Dhabi has also emerged as a major manufacturing centre for aviation production, producing aircraft parts for global aircraft manufacturers.

“Over the last decade, there has been a spectacular rise of the UAE and the openness that Dubai has shown to the world. Now you see this city and country are a magnet for ambitious people wanting to do breakthrough work,” Bevirt said, adding that the focus of the leadership to invest and build a venture capital community is just enlightening.

Adam Grosser, chairman and managing director of UP Partners, said, like Silicon Valley, Dubai is also open to the freedom to explore new ideas and concepts.


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