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  • Steve Halor

First electric air taxi flight in Saudi Arabia

NEOM, the ambitious smart and sustainable regional development project located in northwest Saudi Arabia, has partnered with Volocopter, a leading pioneer in the field of urban air mobility (UAM). In an exciting development, the two entities have announced the successful completion of a series of test flights for their air taxi service. In a groundbreaking development, an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft has achieved a significant milestone by obtaining a special flight authorization and successfully conducting test flights within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This remarkable feat marks the inaugural instance of such an aircraft being granted permission to operate and undergo rigorous testing in the country.

In a remarkable display of collaboration and innovation, NEOM, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), and Volocopter have successfully concluded a flight test campaign that spanned over a week. This ambitious endeavor, which was built upon 18 months of joint efforts, aimed to establish and expand an electric urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem and testbed within the NEOM region. In a collaborative effort, the parties involved diligently prioritized regulatory compliance and safety measures in preparation for the upcoming test campaign.

In a statement, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the CEO of NEOM, expressed his enthusiasm for the recent test flight of a Volocopter eVTOL. Al-Nasr emphasized that this achievement is not merely a milestone in the development of NEOM's cutting-edge transportation system but also a concrete demonstration of NEOM's role as a global catalyst and nurturer of solutions to the world's most urgent problems. In a bold vision for the future, the push to advance intelligent, eco-friendly, and secure transportation networks is set to revolutionize urban areas across the globe. By prioritizing the development of smart mobility systems, cities aim to enhance the quality of life for their residents while fostering seamless connectivity. Moreover, this transformative approach holds the potential to significantly curb carbon emissions, paving the way for a cleaner and more sustainable tomorrow.

In a statement made by His Excellency, Abdulaziz A. Al-Duailej, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he expressed his satisfaction with the recent test flight, emphasizing its significance as a major achievement for the Saudi aviation sector. Al-Duailej highlighted the importance of this milestone in advancing the aviation sector's strategy, which focuses on leveraging innovation and emerging technologies to foster the growth of new industries. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to the country's GDP and generate employment opportunities. In a recent statement, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has affirmed its dedication to facilitating the seamless incorporation of cutting-edge air transportation systems that enhance the mobility of urban dwellers and elevate the overall standard of living within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

NEOM and Volocopter have joined forces with a shared vision of forging a brighter future through the implementation of cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology. NEOM's ambitious vision to revolutionize mobility and enhance people's lives is exemplified by its inclusion of electric air mobility as a key component of its multimodal transport system. In a groundbreaking move, NEOM and Volocopter have come together to establish a joint venture aimed at expanding advanced air mobility. This strategic partnership will position NEOM as a pioneering global living lab dedicated to shaping the future of transportation.

In a thrilling development, Christian Bauer, the esteemed Chief Commercial Officer of Volocopter, expressed his profound excitement as he witnessed the culmination of their dedicated efforts over the past 18 months. In a groundbreaking milestone for the aviation industry, the inaugural eVTOL aircraft testing has taken place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This historic event marks the beginning of a promising partnership as the groundwork is laid for future collaborations in the NEOM region.

In a recent test campaign, the Volocopter aircraft took center stage, showcasing its flight performance under various local climate and environmental conditions. Additionally, the aircraft underwent rigorous testing to assess its seamless integration into the local unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) system.

Volocopter's electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are set to play a crucial role in NEOM's visionary multimodal mobility system, characterized by its intelligence and sustainability. This groundbreaking system will be driven entirely by renewable energy, harnessed from solar and wind sources. In a multitude of capacities, ranging from air taxis to emergency response vehicles, these innovative machines are set to revolutionize the way we navigate the skies. With their superior noise reduction, enhanced versatility, and cost-effective operation, they promise to outshine the conventional helicopters commonly utilized in these domains. With a smaller on-ground infrastructure footprint, fewer operating restrictions, and the integration of smart and autonomous capabilities, they are poised to guarantee safety and maintain relevance in future contexts.

NEOM, the ambitious mega-city project in Saudi Arabia, has recently made a significant stride in the realm of future mobility solutions. The announcement of a test flight marks a notable development, further solidifying NEOM's position as a frontrunner in this domain. This achievement comes on the heels of NEOM's substantial EUR 175 million investment and joint venture with Volocopter, a prominent player in the field. With this latest milestone, NEOM is poised to make waves in the world of innovative transportation. In a recent announcement, Volocopter, a prominent player in the urban air mobility industry, revealed its ambitious plans to secure type certification for its highly anticipated VoloCity air taxi by the year 2024. This significant milestone is expected to pave the way for the commencement of commercial operations in the near future. In an exciting development, Volocopter has just revealed that they have officially begun the production of their highly anticipated VoloCity aircraft. This significant milestone is taking place at their state-of-the-art facilities located in Bruchsal, Germany. With an impressive production capacity, Volocopter aims to deliver over 50 of these cutting-edge aircraft annually, operating under a single shift schedule.

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