Dubai to Introduce the World’s Pioneer Commercial Electric Aerial Taxi Service by 2026

In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), an agreement was officially signed today. The agreement outlines the ambitious plan to introduce a groundbreaking aerial taxi service in Dubai by the year 2026.

Before the World Governments Summit (WGS), the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) sealed a significant agreement with key stakeholders, including the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Joby Aviation (Joby) – a global leader in aerial taxi development, and Skyports Infrastructure (Skyports) – a leading provider of vertiport infrastructure for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry. With this groundbreaking collaboration, Dubai is poised to achieve a historic milestone, emerging as the inaugural city worldwide to implement a comprehensive, city-wide electric aerial taxi service alongside a cutting-edge vertiport network.

In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, alongside H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a comprehensive review of the Joby Aviation S4 Aerial taxi took place. This cutting-edge aerial taxi is slated for commercial operations in 2026. Aligned with the RTA’s forward-looking mobility initiatives, the project is a significant step towards offering advanced transportation services to both residents and visitors in Dubai.

His Highness received a detailed briefing from Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, the Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, regarding the advancements in aerial taxi operations. This groundbreaking transportation service harnesses state-of-the-art technology to ensure the secure and efficient transportation of individuals within urban environments. The overarching goal of this initiative is to seamlessly integrate with Dubai’s public transport network, further enhancing the city’s overall transportation ecosystem.

The Joby Aviation S4 has been intricately designed to ensure the safe and secure accommodation of four passengers moreover to the pilot. Outfitted with six propellers and powered by four battery packs, this advanced aerial taxi boasts a remarkable maximum coverage distance of 161 km. Operating at a top speed of up to 321 km per hour, it stands out for its reduced noise levels compared to helicopters. The aerial taxi is particularly effective in urban settings because it can take off and land vertically, negating the need for the large amount of horizontal area that standard stations require.

This ground-breaking agreement, which forges a meaningful relationship between a governmental body, an aircraft manufacturer and operator, and a vertiport owner and operator, represents a significant global milestone. According to the terms of the agreement, the RTA will assume responsibility for overseeing advanced air mobility services. Joby, in turn, will deliver an aerial ridesharing service, while Skyports will exclusively design, construct, and operate a comprehensive network of vertiports.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Civil Aviation Authority, expressed,

“The continuous development of the UAE’s air transport sector, guided by the directives of our wise leadership, aligns with global best practices. The announcement made today marks a critical turning point in our continuous efforts to increase the sector’s competitiveness and global leadership. The UAE’s air transport industry has advanced significantly with the inauguration of the ground-breaking air taxi project, placing it at the forefront both locally and internationally. With this effort, the nation’s urban transport system is expected to undergo an unparalleled transformation that will promote increased adaptability and durability.”

Bin Touq emphasized the significance of collaborative efforts between the General Civil Aviation Authority, the RTA, and all project partners. By establishing an infrastructure that meets the strictest international requirements, this partnership hopes to set the stage for the development of cutting-edge air mobility in the future. He highlighted the necessity of thorough preparations to guarantee the safe and seamless operation of vertical ports within cities. Coordination with existing airspace users is deemed essential to ensure a harmonious integration of these innovative transport solutions.

“The introduction of the aerial taxi initiative underscores RTA’s commitment to embracing future transportation technologies. The inaugural phase of the aerial taxi service is slated for launch at four strategic locations: in proximity to Dubai International Airport, the Downtown area, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah. These vertiports are designed to be distinctive, encompassing take-off and landing zones, designated areas for passengers and security checks, electric charging stations, and seamless integration with public transport systems,” remarked Al Tayer.

Bevirt expressed,

“It is a privilege to partner with the Dubai Government to demonstrate the global significance of air mobility. This arrangement has all three of the critical components needed for an aerial taxi service to debut successfully: a plane with the capability and range to carry out significant flights, an obvious route to operations, and well-placed infrastructure backed by committed partners. We can’t wait to give Dubai’s citizens and visitors an amazing experience, and we’re excited to start setting the foundation for expanding our services throughout the UAE.”

Marking a regional milestone, Joby showcased its extreme aircraft for the first time at the World Governments Summit. This exhibition provided participants with a firsthand experience of what it will be like to fly in the five-seat aircraft, offering a glimpse into the innovative and transformative nature of this advanced air mobility solution.

Walker stated,

“This contract designates a significant leap toward the realization of commercial aerial taxi services in Dubai. The industry has never been so close to transforming this vision into reality. It combines three key components that are necessary for advanced air mobility: a globally recognized aircraft partner, strong and creative local leadership, and vital ground infrastructure that is smoothly connected with the emirate’s current transportation networks. Placing our vertiports strategically in key Dubai locations will not only enhance connectivity but also provide a faster travel option for both residents and visitors. With the signing of the Definitive Agreement, we now embark on the exciting phase of designing and constructing our vertiports.”

During the WGS 2023, RTA and Skyports introduced an initial design concept for a vertiport located near Dubai International Airport. The envisioned vertiport presents a three-floor structure with a dedicated parking area, where the top deck is reserved for a vertiport terminal and an airfield specifically designated for aerial taxi operations. 

A notable feature is the vertiport’s direct connection to the Emirates Metro Station, facilitating effortless access and promoting multi-modal transport integration. The modern design of the vertiport aims to complement Dubai’s iconic landscape, providing a distinctive, convenient, and efficient transportation alternative. Future vertiports in Dubai are expected to provide air-conditioned, cozy amenities and be built by the strictest international safety regulations, guaranteeing a seamless and secure travel experience for travelers.

There are many benefits to using an aerial taxi, including the ability to take off and land vertically, a small noise footprint, and no emissions while operating. These attributes contribute to heightened flexibility in urban settings, enabling passengers to reach their destinations with greater proximity. These innovative vehicles prioritize safety, comfort, and speed, integrating state-of-the-art technology in both their design and manufacturing processes.

Over 4,000 attendees from the public and private sectors are expected for WGS 2024, which will feature a varied schedule with 110 interactive workshops. 200 speakers from 80 international, regional, and intergovernmental organizations will share their perspectives at the event. Prominent organizations that will be represented include the UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organisation, International Atomic Energy Agency, and Arab League. Notably, 23 ministerial sessions with approximately 300 ministers in attendance will take place against the backdrop of the summit, which will welcome eight Nobel Prize winners. Working with a small number of expert partners, WGS will provide over 25 strategic studies that highlight important trends and practices in important industries.

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