Flying taxis in Abu Dhabi and Dubai skies by next year, says Archer CEO

Trips between the emirates could take 10 minutes compared to up to 90 by road

The Archer Aviation Midnight eVTOL can carry up to five passengers, including its pilot. Photo: Archer
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Flying taxis are expected to hit Abu Dhabi and Dubai skies as early as 2025, a year earlier than projected, the chief executive of US company Archer Aviation has said.

The use of eVTOL – electric vertical take-off and landing – aircraft has the potential to cut travel times significantly between the two emirates, Adam Goldstein said at the Investopia conference in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

California-based Archer first teamed up with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office in October, with plans at that time to start all-electric air taxi operations in the Emirates in 2026.

"As early as 2025 and as late as 2026, you will see eVTOLs flying around Abu Dhabi [and] Dubai ... trips that used to take 60 to 90 minutes on the ground, we can fly you in 10 minutes," he said.

In another example, a normal trip from downtown Manhattan to New Jersey's Newark Airport would take only nine minutes in an eVTOL compared to more than an hour by road, according to Archer's website.

"It will make everybody's lives better, will be very safe and very enjoyable experience and will be the start of an aviation revolution," Mr Goldstein said.

He did not explicitly say these flying cars will be the Midnight eVTOL the company is developing. An eVTOL is a variety of a VTOL aircraft that hovers, takes off and lands vertically using electric power.

The first Midnight eVTOLs will be piloted, which would be "the best way to actually get through the adoption period", considering "millions" would be interested in riding these next-generation vehicles, Mr Goldstein said.

The Midnight aircraft can carry up to four passengers – plus the pilot – and can fly up to 161km at a speed of up to 241kph.

Being positioned by Archer as a potential replacement for helicopters, "eVTOLs have tremendous benefits that go beyond being sustainable", including being quiet and "very, very safe, [having] redundancies all over the vehicle so no single points of failure", he said.

"And because they're electric, they can be scaled at very high rates and can be flown a lot, driving the total overall cost down."

Integrating autonomous capabilities, the industry's cornerstone technology that is being positioned to ultimately result in pilot-less eVTOLs, will be "the path to scaling [operations and adoption]" of these aircraft, he said.

Dubai's flying taxi could connect emirate's major tourist spots

Dubai's flying taxi could connect emirate's major tourist spots

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

This month, Dubai firmed up its plans to introduce flying taxis to the emirate by 2026, with agreements signed on Sunday with Joby Aviation and Skyports Infrastructure.

However, while it has been agreed operations will start by early 2026, California-based Joby is targeting initial operations as early as 2025.

Another California VTOL maker, Odys Aviation, this month said it expected VTOLs in GCC skies by 2028.

Updated: February 29, 2024, 5:00 AM