Joby to establish Abu Dhabi air-taxi service

  • April 30, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

California-based Joby Aviation is helping establish and scale air taxi services in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

Joby is developing all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service. It has signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities & Transport (DMT), Department of Economic Development (DED) and Department of Culture & Tourism (DCT).

The MoU, signed at last week’s DriftX international exhibition in Abu Dhabi, demonstrates the of support available to Joby as part of its participation in the UAE’s Savi smart and autonomous vehicles industry cluster and builds on Joby’s existing commitments to the UAE, which include the right to operate air taxi services in Dubai, which the company expects to start next year. The agreement also unlocks the potential for inter-emirate air taxi services, for example between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“Abu Dhabi aims to spearhead the advancement and implementation of the next era of advanced mobility,” said Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of DMT ( “Through the emirate’s Savi cluster and this visionary partnership with Joby, we are not only laying the foundation for cutting-edge air taxi services but also shaping the future of transportation, igniting a journey where the sky is no longer the limit, but the beginning of endless possibilities. We look forward to seeing their innovative aircrafts take-off from the UAE capital, offering the world a glimpse, through Abu Dhabi, of what the future of mobility looks like.”

Joby’s aircraft, which was on display for the first time in Abu Dhabi at the DriftX event in Yas Marina, is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 321km/h with zero operating emissions and a low acoustic footprint. Its maximum range of 161km can enable fast and clean air travel both within Abu Dhabi and across the wider UAE, with a journey from Abu Dhabi to Dubai taking around 30 minutes compared with around two hours by car during rush hour.

“The MoU aligns seamlessly with our Tourism Strategy 2030, which underscores our steadfast commitment to fostering sustainable growth and strategic development in the travel and tourism sector,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT. “As part of our focus on infrastructure and mobility, we are collaborating closely with both government and private sectors to harness smart city initiatives and sustainable technologies. Through the adoption of green transportation, we aim to enhance the quality of experiences offered to both our community and visitors. The introduction of scale air taxi services marks a significant addition, enhancing accessibility to natural attractions, tourist hotspots and architectural landmarks, thereby elevating overall visitor experiences.”

Joby has been working closely with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE to define a path to support the region in introducing air taxis. The GCAA regulatory framework builds upon FAA standards with additional company testing and analysis alongside a high level of regulator oversight and an ongoing review process to ensure safety for early operations. Inter-emirate travel would require additional approval from the GCAA.

“Today’s agreement demonstrates the incredible momentum there is behind the adoption of clean flight across the UAE,” said JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation. “We’re looking forward to delivering a fantastic experience for our future customers in Abu Dhabi and we’re excited to be unlocking the potential for zero-emissions flight between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We’re grateful for the support and collaboration of our governmental partners and the entire ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and we remain deeply impressed by their commitment to building out a world-class aviation ecosystem in the Emirate.”

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 ever delivery of an electric air taxi to the US Department of Defense in September 2023. In February 2024, Joby confirmed it had completed the third of five stages required to receive type certification for its aircraft from the US FAA.

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.