Saudi Arabia gives wings to urban air mobility

Saudi Arabia gives wings to urban air mobility
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Joby Aviation Air Taxi. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia gives wings to urban air mobility
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Volocopter aircraft. (Supplied)
NEOM's Oxagon City. (Supplied)
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NEOM's Oxagon City. (Supplied)
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Updated 09 May 2022

Saudi Arabia gives wings to urban air mobility

Saudi Arabia gives wings to urban air mobility
  • Kingdom’s aviation industry is scaling new heights, aiming to generate $100 million by 2030

RIYADH: Aviation experts and leaders will gather from all over the world to attend the Future Aviation Forum, a two-day event to showcase the advancements in international air travel, even as Saudi Arabia aims to generate $100 million from the aviation sector by 2030.

Led by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the event will feature over 120 speakers and two thousand attendees with 40 sessions revolving around passenger experience, sustainability, and post-covid recovery.

Among other sunrise sectors, the Kingdom’s aviation industry is scaling new heights to realize the ambitious Vision 2030 blueprint.

The transport and logistics sector is already in the spotlight with NEOM, the Kingdom’s $500 billion development project, toying with the idea of flying taxis to establish vertical logistics services integrated with zero-emission public transit systems.

The giga-project late last year announced a joint venture with German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter to build and operate the world’s first bespoke public vertical mobility system.

NEOM confirmed that operations would commence within two to three years after placing an order for 15 Volocopter all-electric, air-mobility taxis.

The initial order includes ten VoloCity intra-city aircraft and five VoloDrone logistics aircraft, an all-electric, heavy-lift payload drone.

If this was not enough, Airbus last month inked a deal with The Helicopter Company, one of the first licensed helicopter operators in the Kingdom backed by the Public Investment Fund, to build a global urban air mobility ecosystem.

NEOM's Oxagon City. (Supplied)

The agreement will introduce a new fleet of helicopters set to operate in the Kingdom, besides decarbonizing the flight operations of Airbus products in THC’s airplanes.

THC presently operates ten H125 helicopters and, with the agreement, will further add 20 H145s and six ACH160s with options to increase the fleet further.

Family-owned investment firm Jameel Investment Management Company is also participating in the flying taxis industry in Saudi Arabia.

The firm has recently participated in a $590 million Series C funding round in Santa Cruz-based aviation company Joby Aviation.

The company aims to support the growth of the air mobility ecosystem by providing electric air taxis to shuttle passengers in congested city streets.

“Air taxi service is still in the early stages of commercialization, but one that has the potential to completely transform the future of mobility,” Hassan Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said in a statement.

“We are excited to be a part of this new chapter for the sector, bringing fast, affordable, and zero-emissions air mobility to Saudi Arabia and the wider Mena region,” he added.