In cooperation with Volocopter, Saudi Arabia tests air taxi flights in NEOM


Riyadh – Saudi Arabia has reached yet another significant achievement in its efforts to improve quality of life and create a sustainable multimodal mobility system with the testing of air taxi flights in NEOM.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the flight test campaign lasted more than a week and was the culmination of 18 months of collaboration between NEOM, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, and Volocopter with the goal of establishing and expanding an electric urban air mobility ecosystem and test bed in NEOM.

The successful test flight of a Volocopter eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) is a concrete illustration of NEOM’s role as a global accelerator and incubator of solutions to the most pressing problems facing humanity, according to Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM. Improving connection and livability in cities all over the world and reducing carbon emissions will lead to the development of smart, safe, and sustainable mobility systems, which will result in a cleaner future for all.

Before the test flights, the parties collaborated carefully to guarantee complete regulatory compliance and safety.

GACA President Abdulaziz A. Al-Duailej commented on the accomplishment, stating that it is yet another consistent step towards achieving the objectives of the Kingdom’s aviation sector strategy “through innovation and employing emerging technologies to create new industries that contribute to the output GDP (gross domestic product) and create more jobs.”

“It also confirms GACA’s commitment to enabling the safe integration of innovative air transport patterns that enhance both the standard of living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the mobility experience of people in urban areas,” he continued.

In order to expand sophisticated air mobility, NEOM and Volocopter established a joint venture in 2021, establishing NEOM as a collaborative, international living lab for the future of transportation.

“It is beyond exciting to see our work from the past 18 months come to fruition,” said Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer of Volocopter. We are happy to have set the stage for our upcoming partnership here in NEOM as the first eVTOL aircraft to test in Saudi Arabia.

According to the statement, the test campaign concentrated on the flight capabilities of the Volocopter aircraft in the local climate and surroundings as well as testing its integration into the area’s unmanned aircraft system traffic control system.

Volocopter eVTOLs will be essential to NEOM’s intelligent and environmentally friendly multimodal mobility system, which will run entirely on renewable energy produced by solar and wind energy sources.

EVTOL planes will serve as air taxis and emergency response vehicles, the statement claims. Compared to the helicopters that are frequently used today, these aircraft are cheaper to operate, more versatile, and quieter.

“They employ smart and autonomous capabilities that ensure both safety and sustained relevance in future contexts,” it continued. “They have smaller on-ground infrastructure footprint, fewer operating restrictions, and smaller on-ground infrastructure footprint.”

The $500 billion giga-project is now positioned as a pioneer in next transportation solutions thanks to the test flight announcement, which builds on NEOM’s approximately $190 million investment and joint venture with Volocopter.

The VoloCity air taxi is expected to receive type certification from Volocopter in 2024, opening the door to future commercial operations. Additionally, the business recently declared the start of VoloCity serial production at its German facility in Bruchsal, with a capability to deliver more than 50 aircraft annually under one-shift working circumstances.

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