Dubai puts the brakes on hyperloop hype amid flurry of plans for super-fast travel

RTA says advanced transport system is still under development and needs 'careful planning' before any go-ahead is given

HyperloopTT system front view. The firm will test in China. Courtesy Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
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Dubai transport officials have said there is “no specific route” for a high-speed hyperloop link between Dubai and other emirates.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) also denied the suggestion of a possible link between Abu Dhabi and Al Maktoum International Airport.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of news about hyperloop projects involving different companies and routes.

The authority stepped in a week after the US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced a deal to develop a system with Aldar Properties.

The network would initially begin at Alghadeer, the residential development near the border of Dubai where Aldar is planning a Dh10 billion expansion.

At the launch, at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, Hyperloop TT chairman Bibop Gresta said he hoped that “the first section will be operational in time for Expo 2020", though he did not specifically set out an airport link.

To clarify, in series of tweets, the RTA yesterday put out what it called an “explanatory notice” saying it had "denied the validity of the announcement of the Hyperloop transport technology company (Hyperloop TT) regarding the first Hyperloop line connecting Abu Dhabi Airport and Al Maktoum Airport in Dubai".

It added that there was “no specific route for operating the Hyperloop system in Dubai or between Dubai and other emirate".

“The system is still under the process of research and development, and RTA is closely following the developments in this technology, and will study several options for determining the route which will be announced in the future,” the RTA said.

The authority “stressed that projects of this magnitude and complexity, must be preceded by careful planning and engineering studies as well as feasibility studies to determine the feasibility of implementation and reduce the potential risks, and maximize the benefit of the project".

In recent weeks there has been a series of announcements about potential hyperloop projects.

Virgin Hyperloop One, whose investors include Richard Branson, Saudi Arabia and Dubai ports operator DP World is expected to make a major announcement in Dubai next week.

At Arabian Travel Market this week, a senior official from Dubai Airports one day predicted a six-minute connection between the city’s two international airports using pods propelled in a near-vacuum tube.


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Abu Dhabi Hyperloop route announced following Aldar agreement

Hyperloop to transit passengers between Dubai's airports in six minutes


At the announcement of an initial deal between Hyperloop TT and Aldar, Talal Al Dhiyebi, the chief executive officer of Aldar Properties said Alghadeer sat at ”such a strategic point within the UAE – close to major growth areas of both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, that it makes sense to pair it with rapid transport opportunities".