The advent of air taxis is likely to generate thousands of jobs in the region within the next ten years
Published: Mon 20 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM
Last updated: Mon 20 Nov 2023, 11:15 PM
Thanks to the UAE’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) initiatives and anticipated certification developments next year, people may soon have the opportunity to bypass traffic and travel across the Emirates, saving 40 per cent of their time.
The country is poised to witness all-electric air taxis becoming a reality in the skies of the UAE by the first quarter of 2026.
Shedding light on the advantages of bringing electric aviation to the UAE, Eng. Ruba Abdelal, Chief Specialist, Innovative Mobility Expert, UAE Government said it will help unlock congestion with zero emissions.
She said, “The first one is the time efficiency, so imagine travelling from one point to another without having to deal with the traffic congestion or having to deal with intersections and waiting on traffic lights and roundabouts. Movement of people from one place to another within cities is going to be much easier. You will save at least 40 per cent of your time which can lead to increased productivity.”
Abdelal highlighted innovation in this sector will also impact other sectors positively. “Another benefit is to connect to areas that are hard to reach. Importantly, it will also enhance emergency response,” she added.
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Policy work commences next year
Omran Hassan Malek, Senior Specialist in Policy and Regulation and Advanced Air Mobility Project Manager at the General Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE, highlighted that the country can expect the arrival of the future of air mobility by the first quarter of 2026.
“After collaborations like Archer we are doing a lot of work and preparation. We are ensuring that regulations are in place and the airspace is ready. All work is going to start from next year leading up to 2026.”
He added, “We do anticipate resistance when it comes to introducing anything new, especially with the way you transport yourself. The first year or two might not see hundreds of aircraft in the skies but in the next five years, it’ll definitely be a mode of transportation.”
Earlier, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Archer, alongside several aviation industry frontrunners in the region such as Falcon Aviation and GAL-AMMROC, joined forces in a signing event to endorse the introduction of Archer’s fully electric air taxi service throughout the UAE. Abu Dhabi has pledged to be the inaugural partner, aiming for a 2026 launch.
“Creating the entire ecosystem is critical. We’re working very closely along with other manufacturers and stakeholders. We are coordinating with committees worldwide, in America, Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It is a novelty in the market and requires huge investments, so multiple things have to be in place,” Malek continued.
It will help generate more jobs
Additionally, the advent of air taxis is also likely to attract millions in foreign direct investment and generate thousands of jobs in the region within the next ten years.
Balkiz Sarihan, CEO of Airbus Urban Mobility and Head of UAM Airbus said, “There’s a new option with each of us being able to make our mobility, choice of the day. This could be based on distance, scenario… if we are in a rush or emergency situation. The eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) and advanced air mobility will be another option. It’s not going to replace. It cannot. It will become one more transportation choice.”
Shedding light on the imminent challenges of these vehicles that have unique requirements, Borja Blond CEO – Advance Air Mobility Operator, said, “The authorities are a key stakeholder to move towards safety of operations. It’s not just about flying it’s about understanding the entire game. That’s where the real complexity comes in. Maintenance will also need a completely different approach. Also, training of pilots is an important aspect (that needs to be factored in).”
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