Joby to launch Dubai air taxi services in 2026
Joby has signed a definitive agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority to launch air taxi services in the Emirate by early 2026, with Skyports to build the vertiports.
The plan for Dubai gives the eVTOL developer the “exclusive right” to operate air taxis in the region for six years. Although where this leaves the deal between Eve and Falcon Aviation Services — signed back in 2022 to introduce air taxi services of their own starting in 2026 — remains to be seen.
Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and Joby signed the agreement at the World Governments Summit in Dubai. The deal secures a variety of support from the RTA, including financial mechanisms for entry and maturing of service operations.
Four initial locations in the Dubai area have been earmarked as sites for vertiports: Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Dubai Downtown.
“It is an honour to partner with the government of Dubai to demonstrate the value of sustainable air travel to the world,” said JoeBen Bevirt founder and CEO at Joby Aviation. “Today’s landmark agreement delivers on all three ingredients required to successfully launch an air taxi service — a definitive path to operations, well-placed infrastructure supported by dedicated partners, and an aircraft with the capacity and range to deliver meaningful journeys.”
Mattar Al Tayer Director-General and chairman of the board of executive directors for RTA said the air taxi service is part of the authority’s efforts to embrace future transport technology.
“[It] offers a novel and efficient mobility option for Dubai’s residents and visitors, enabling fast, safe, and convenient travel to key city spots. This service will also enhance seamless multimodal transportation, improving citywide connectivity, and ensuring a smooth travel experience for passengers,” said Al Tayer.
Joby also signed an agreement with Skyports who will build and operate the four initial vertiports across the Dubai area. A typical journey from Dubai International Airport to Palm Jumeirah is expected to take 10 minutes by air taxi versus 45 minutes by car.
Duncan Walker, founder and CEO of Skyports said: “Today marks a significant step towards the launch of commercial air taxi services in Dubai. The industry has never been closer to making it a reality. This agreement brings together the key enablers of advanced air mobility: strong, innovative local leadership; a world-leading aircraft partner; and critical ground infrastructure integrated with the Emirate’s existing transportation networks.”
Joby and the RTA have been working with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE to ensure there is a regulatory route to support the vision of making Dubai a hub for air taxi operations. The GCAA regulatory framework builds upon FAA standards with additional company testing and analysis. There is also an ongoing operational review process to ensure continued safety. Joby has also established a local operating entity and intends to recruit locally for the majority of its operational team.