Abu Dhabi's Adio links up with Archer for electric air taxis in UAE in 2026

The UAE capital is the first international launch partner of the US company

The electric motors of an Archer Aviation aircraft. Reuters
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The Abu Dhabi Investment Office has linked up with Archer Aviation, a California aircraft company, to start all-electric air taxi operations in the UAE in 2026.

The UAE capital is the first international launch partner of the US company.

Under the agreement, Adio aims to support Archer through incentives for setting up its first global headquarters and factory in the smart and autonomous vehicle industry cluster in Abu Dhabi.

Officials of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority have recently visited Archer’s headquarters in California to inspect its Midnight aircraft and learn about their certification progress with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Our goal is to approve Archer’s air taxi to fly in the UAE as soon as it is certified by the FAA, and we are very excited to collaborate with them to bring electric air taxis to the country,” said the GCAA's director general, Saif Al Suwaidi.

Archer has raised more than $1.1 billion in funding so far, including investments from Mubadala Capital, United Airlines, Stellantis and Boeing.

It is working with industry partners across the UAE to support its plans to commercialise operations in the Emirates by 2026.

It has also signed an initial agreement with Falcon Aviation that will operate its air taxis across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Archer also intends to build on its aircraft making and its centre of excellence in Abu Dhabi, which will be focused on developing and implementing next-generation aviation technology.

“Bringing electric aviation to the UAE will help unlock congestion with zero emissions and, in turn, bring millions in foreign direct investment and thousands of jobs to the region over the next decade,” said Adio's acting director general, Badr Al Olama.

The UAE has sought to become a leader in smart transport systems as part of its efforts to promote and integrate sustainability.

Smart travel is the integration of advanced technology and data-driven solutions to create efficient, sustainable and user-focused transport systems.

The global smart transport sector is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 21 per cent to about $404 billion by 2032, from $48.54 billion in 2022, data from Spherical Insights and Consulting shows.

“Archer plans to partner closely with Adio and the Department of Economic Development to bring manufacturing and operations for our air taxis to the region,” said Archer’s founder and chief executive, Adam Goldstein.

"We are positioned to be a driving force in making all-electric air taxis a reality in the skies of the UAE and beyond in the coming years.

Archer said its goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60 to 90-minute trips by car with estimated 10 to 20-minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise and cost-competitive.

The company’s Midnight aircraft is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights.

“Through our asset management subsidiary Mubadala Capital, we have been an investor in Archer for several years,” said Meera Al Suwaidi, head of value creation at Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm, Mubadala Investment Company.

“We are looking forward to working alongside them for the debut of their Midnight aircraft at the Dubai Air Show later this year, and to continue discussions on further expanding our collaboration.”

Updated: October 16, 2023, 8:07 PM