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Dubai Set to Host World's First Flying Taxi Service in Tie-up with Joby Aviation

US-based firm will operate service in Dubai ahead of any other location

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on March 26, 2024, 16:42:06

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Joby aviation, aircraft, commercial passenger service, flying taxi

Joby Aviation Inc. a US-based firm which develops all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service is planning to launch its flying taxi service in Dubai ahead of any other location, including its home base in the US.

According to Joby’s president of operations, Bonny Simi, progress on a partnership with the emirate, announced earlier this year, is more advanced than in other areas, enabling a Dubai launch first.

“We signed a definitive agreement with the government of Dubai that grants Joby exclusive rights to operate air taxis in the Emirate for six years. The agreement includes financial support and identifies a regulatory pathway to enable early operations,” the company said in its financial statement.

In February, Joby announced plans to commence initial operations by 2025 in Dubai, where it secured a six-year exclusive agreement for its electric air-taxi services, with commercial services slated for early 2026. Simi now suggests this milestone may be achieved as soon as late 2025.

Dubai’s government has offered economic support, with regulators dedicating resources specifically to Joby, facilitating a swift and safe progression. This support aims to financially de-risk the initial launch.

Initially, Joby plans to establish four vertiports across Dubai for its electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, including Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, downtown Dubai near the Burj Khalifa tower and the city’s marina.

Meanwhile, rival Archer Aviation Inc. struck a preliminary deal last year with the government of nearby Abu Dhabi, targeting manufacturing and a service launch by 2026. Although Joby will enjoy exclusivity for flights within Dubai, Archer plans to operate flights between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as well as across the UAE.

Several other eVTOL market contenders have also turned their attention to the oil-rich Gulf states. Lilium NV, Embraer SA’s Eve Air Mobility and Volocopter GmbH have all signed agreements in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or both.

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