Dubai plans air-taxi service by 2026

  • February 20, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Dubai is to launch an air-taxi service by 2026 using all-electric aircraft from California-based Joby Aviation.

Joby is developing the all-electric aircraft for the commercial passenger service in an agreement with Dubai’s Road & Transport Authority (RTA) to launch the air taxi services by early 2026, with Joby targeting initial operations as early as 2025.

The agreement provides Joby with the exclusive right to operate air taxis in Dubai for six years and secures a variety of support from the RTA, including financial mechanisms for entry and maturing of service operations in Dubai.

“It is an honour to partner with the government of Dubai to demonstrate the value of sustainable air travel to the world,” said JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation. “This 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.”

Mattar Al Tayer, director-general at the RTA, added: “The air taxi service is part of RTA’s efforts to embrace future transportation technologies and offers a novel and efficient mobility option for Dubai’s residents and visitors, enabling fast, safe and convenient travel to key city spots. This service will also enhance seamless multimodal transportation, improving citywide connectivity, and ensuring a smooth travel experience for passengers.”

Joby additionally signed an agreement with Skyports, which will design, build and operate four initial vertiport sites across Dubai. RTA, Skyports and Joby have worked together to identify Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and downtown Dubai as the launch locations for the air taxi service.

Joby’s aircraft is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour and will be operated by the company, with a journey from Dubai International Airport to Palm Jumeirah expected to take just ten minutes compared with 45 minutes by car.

Joby and the RTA have been working closely with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE to ensure there is a regulatory route to support the air taxis. The GCAA regulatory framework builds on FAA standards with additional company testing and analysis alongside a high level of regulatory oversight and an ongoing operational review process to ensure continued safety for early operations.

The RTA (, Joby and Skyports ( will now work on a wide range of topics, from customer journey design to stakeholder engagement and the integration of Joby’s service into the wider public transport network in Dubai. To support the development of its operations in Dubai, Joby has established a local operating entity and intends to recruit locally for most of its operational team.

The company will also consider localisation of other global business activities in Dubai and across the region. For example, Joby recently announced it would participate in the Smart & Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster established by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), as part of exploring broader operations across the UAE.

In November 2023, Joby’s aircraft became the first electric air taxi to fly in New York City, building on a number of recent successes including the launch of production at the company’s initial manufacturing facility in California in June 2023 and the first delivery of an electric air taxi to the US Department of Defense in September 2023.

Joby is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has raised more than $2bn of funding, including investments from Toyota, Delta Air Lines, SK Telecom, Uber and Baillie Gifford.

Joby Aviation ( is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet and convenient service in cities around the world.