Flying taxis to become an everyday reality for Neom residents

The first 15 have already been ordered from German company Volocopter

A Volocopter drone taxi at Pontoise airfield near Paris, France.  Reuters
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Flying taxis will be a reality for residents of Neom, says the man leading work to build Saudi Arabia's sustainable desert city in a continuous 170 kilometre structure on the Red Sea coast.

Nadhmi Al Nasr, chief executive of the Neom City Project, told the Saudi Green Initiative Forum that his team was developing the first eco-friendly transport system based on aviation, using flying taxis powered entirely by sustainable batteries.

Last year, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with German-based Volocopter, which will be the sole operator of the first public transit routes in Neom. The city ordered 15 Volocopter aircraft, five of which will transport logistics and the rest, passengers.

Neom announced that it has made a $175 million Series E investment in Volocopter, the pioneer of what the company calls Urban Air Mobility.

“The land of the future giga-project will take a significant equity stake in the company as part of its strategic engagement with the global eVTOL industry, positioning it as a leader in future mobility solutions,” Neom said on its website, referring to electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

Neom has established its first centre to develop clean energy and green hydrogen, Mr Al Nasr said. He said its focus was on innovation and research aimed to protect nature reserves and the wider environment.

He said “work is under way” in Neom to provide renewable water sources for commercial and industrial consumption.

Updated: November 13, 2022, 12:00 PM