in Aerospace

Skyports partners with RTA and Joby to launch Dubai air taxi service

Posted 12 February 2024

Skyports Infrastructure (Skyports) today announced it has signed a Definitive Agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and all-electric aircraft company Joby Aviation to launch passenger air taxi services in Dubai by 2026.

Above: Render of Skyports' vertiport near Dubai International Airport, the first of four vertiports to be built in Dubai.
Courtesy Skyports

The agreement, signed at the World Governments Summit in Dubai and endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, gives Skyports exclusive rights to build and operate vertiports in Dubai.

The agreement is the first time globally that a transport authority, vertiport operator, aircraft manufacturer and relevant regulatory bodies have partnered to enable AAM. It will see Dubai become the first location with a commercial, city-wide electric air taxi service.

The parties will take on the following responsibilities:

  • Skyports will design, construct, own and operate vertiports to provide critical take-off and landing infrastructure at key locations across the Emirate
  • RTA, as Dubai’s transport authority, will oversee and regulate AAM services
  • Joby will manufacture, certify and operate eVTOL air taxis in the Emirate

The initial network will include four vertiports located by Dubai International Airport (DXB), Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown and Dubai Marina. Flights between Skyports’ vertiports will reduce journey times significantly, with a typical journey from DXB to Palm Jumeirah expected to take 10 minutes by air taxi compared with 45 minutes by car.

The project will integrate with RTA’s extensive public transport network to facilitate intermodal travel, enhance connectivity across Dubai and enable a seamless passenger journey.

Duncan Walker, founder and CEO of Skyports said: “Today marks a significant step towards the launch of commercial air taxi services in Dubai. The industry has never been closer to making it a reality.”

“This agreement brings together the key enablers of advanced air mobility: strong, innovative local leadership; a world-leading aircraft partner; and critical ground infrastructure integrated with the Emirate’s existing transportation networks.”

“The strategic positioning of our vertiports in key locations across Dubai will enhance connectivity and provide a faster travel option for residents and visitors. With the Definitive Agreement signed, now begins the exciting part: designing and building our vertiports.”

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors for RTA: “The Dubai air taxi initiative is part of RTA’s efforts to embrace future transportation technologies and enable fast, safe and convenient travel to key city spots. Skyports’ vertiports will stand out for their innovative design, which facilitates seamless multimodal transportation and improves citywide connectivity, ensuring a smooth travel experience for passengers.”

JoeBen Bevirt, CEO and founder, Joby Aviation, said: “Today’s landmark agreement delivers on all three ingredients required to successfully launch an air taxi service - a definitive path to operations, well-placed infrastructure supported by dedicated partners, and an aircraft with the capacity and range to deliver meaningful journeys.

“We’re looking forward to delivering an incredible experience for residents and visitors to Dubai as early as 2025 and we’re excited to be laying the groundwork for the expansion of our service across the wider UAE.”

Detailed studies have been completed at the four locations and architectural design has commenced for the first phase of development. Vertiport certification and approval process has begun with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans) and other critical government stakeholders.

Skyports Infrastructure is an enabler of advanced air mobility (AAM), which designs, builds and operates take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis and partners with specialist electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers around the world to enable safe, sustainable and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments.

Based in London, United Kingdom, Skyports has projects operating in multiple continents, including in Middle East, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.




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