Fasten your seatbelts!

The future is here! Flying taxis are expected to take to the skies in Dubai as soon as next year, and we can’t wait to check it out.

In February 2023, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai confirmed models of aerial taxi stations developed by the RTA. The Dubai Ruler stated that aerial taxis will take to the skies by 2026… but if everything goes well and all the approvals have been received, it could be as early as next year, 2025.

About the aircraft

Joby Aircraft flying taxis in Dubai

Joby Aircraft flying taxis in Dubai

The aircraft weighs approximately around the weight of a Tesla, and will high-speed charge the same way.

When the aircraft lands, it will begin charging as passengers de-plane. Joby, the mastermind behind these crafts, tell us that the entire charge of the battery is not used 100 per cent during each trip due to the short distances (approximately seven minutes). For longer journeys (city to city such as Dubai to Abu Dhabi where the trip is 30 minutes), the whole charge is most likely to be used which means the aircraft will be charged a little longer than usual, but it won’t cause an inconvenience.

Each aircraft is equipped with five seats, four for passengers and the fifth seating the (fully-qualified) commercial pilot in the front.

In an interview with Joby, we are told the electric aircraft are ‘super quiet, maybe even around a hundred times quieter than a helicopter’. This also means that the aircraft can access communities at any time of the day without causing a disturbance.

If you’re keen to board these air taxis, here’s what we know so far… 

Bookings: Joby has teamed up with Uber, so when the air taxi service launches, you will be able to book your trip in the same way as a taxi via the app. You will also be able to book via the official RTA app, and Joby will also working on creating their own Joby app which will be launched soon.

Procedure: Once your booking is done, you will turn up at the vertiport, go through a terminal before boarding your aircraft. This boarding process will be around five minutes. Once at the destination and deboarded, Joby will be able to connect you to an Uber so you can reach your final destination in a seamless journey.

Joby Aircraft flying taxis in Dubai

There will be four vertiports to start with the initial launch connecting four main areas of Dubai: Downtown Dubai (Burj Khalifa area), Dubai Marina, Dubai International Airport, and Palm Jumeirah.

But hotels, malls, attractions, property developers, and more can also develop these vertiports and Joby can land there. Joby will also be able to land on heliports, but it must be equipped with chargers.

The staff will also be required to know your weight before the flight – similar to the experience you go through when you get on a hot air balloon or a helicopter. This is to ensure the aircraft is evenly balanced.

If you have luggage, this too will need to be considered when you board the aircraft, and it will also be scanned before it is loaded. The aircraft has a maximum capacity of 1000 pounds (approximately 450 kilograms) so if the aircraft is full, that is approximately 200 pounds per person.

Joby Aircraft flying taxis in Dubai

Costs: Well, it’s not going to cost as much as you think, and Joby’s target is to bring the costs to around the same price as an Uber Black per trip. When it is launched, it may be slightly more, but in order to be competitive with regular land taxis, the prices will slowly reduce.

About safety: Since the aircraft is electric, the propulsion is simpler compared to a helicopter and has only one moving part in the propulsion system. In addition to the six propellers – each of which is dual redundant, there are three computers, out of which one will be used during the trip, so if one should fail there is a backup. Additionally, there are four battery packs, also dual redundant. The aircraft also has a wing and vertical lift to generate lift, so if power is lost, the aircraft can glide to a landing. Pilots are also fully commercially trained pilots, so you will be in safe hands.

When it comes to weather conditions, the aircraft can operate in all weather conditions. Additionally, the aircraft will fly just one to three thousand feet off the ground, so if there is an emergency, you will reach the ground in less than a minute.

In keeping with sustainability, the aircraft are electric and free from emissions making for a sustainable journey. Joby hopes the aircraft will take people off the roads, thus reducing car emissions.

Will Dubai be the first city in the world to get flying taxis? Dubai will most likely be the first city in the world, but this is based on regulatory approvals and of course, after safety checks are confirmed.

Images: Joby Aviation