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Joby receives FAA nod to start air taxi services commercially

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Reuters
Reuters
 
Publishing date:
May 26, 2022  •  4 hours ago  •  1 minute read  •   Join the conversation

 

Joby Aviation Inc said on Thursday it had received a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would allow it to kick start its air-taxi operations commercially.

Although the certification gives the necessary clearance and is a significant milestone, the company still has some regulatory hurdles to clear before its five-seater aircraft can legally fly passengers.

The FAA’s Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate is among the three regulatory approvals critical for Joby’s planned launch of all-electric aerial ridesharing service in 2024.

The certification will let Joby operate its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as an air taxi service in cities and communities across United States.

 

In February, Joby’s piloted prototype aircraft met with an accident during a flight test at its base in California but no injuries were reported.

Earlier this month, FAA said it had shifted course on its approach to approving pilots for future eVTOL aircraft but does not expect it to delay certification or operational approvals.

Joby reported a net loss of $62.3 million in the first quarter this year and flagged costs related to aircraft certification and early manufacturing operations. (Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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Japanese airline ANA is looking to launch a flying taxi service from airports to city centres

Joby, founded in 2009, began the certification process for its electric aircraft last year
Joby, founded in 2009, began the certification process for its electric aircraft last year   -   Copyright  Joby
 
By Tom Bateman  •  Updated: 16/02/2022
 

Japan's largest airline and flying taxi startup Joby Aviation have announced plans to bring aerial ridesharing to the country's third-largest city, Osaka.

In a statement on Monday, airline ANA and the Californian startup said travelling by air would cut the journey time from central Osaka to the city's Kansai Airport to just 15 minutes, compared to an hour by car.

Joby's founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said the startup wanted to provide a greener way of travelling quickly via its electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

 
 

"Japan offers us a spectacular opportunity to do just that with 92 per cent of the population living in urban areas and Tokyo registering as one of the top 20 most congested cities in the world," he said.

The airport, located on an artificial island 38km west of Osaka, can currently be reached by electric train in 34-65 minutes.

Japanese carmaker Toyota, which has invested almost $400 million (€352.5 million) in Joby will also join the partnership, the companies said.

Aiming for 2025

Japan's government has been pushing to develop aerial rideshare services for a number of years. In 2018, it revealed a document called the "roadmap towards air mobility revolution," which targeted 2023 as the starting date for commercial flying taxi services.

 

ANA and Joby's announcement did not commit to a launch date - or even year - for bringing the company's five-seater aircraft to Japan, although the 2025 Osaka World Expo has previously been highlighted by other operators as a potential starting point.

Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Kyodo via AP Photo All Nippon Airways is partnering with aviation startup Joby to bring air taxis to JapanKenzaburo Fukuhara/Kyodo via AP Photo

Last year, Japanese flying car startup Skydrive signed an agreement with Osaka authorities to provide an air taxi service for the 2025 event.

"Not only installing eVTOL but also building social acceptance and developing a startup ecosystem in Osaka might be possible under the agreement," company chief executive Tomohiro Fukuzawa told reporters at the time.

ANA's main rival, Japan Airlines (JAL), has also been making noises about eVTOL aircraft, investing in German flying car startup Volocopter in February 2020.

Pre-flight checks

But while Japan's airline industry and politicians have been talking up aerial rideshare services, there is a lot of work to do before the flying taxis can take off.

In Monday's announcement, ANA and Joby said they would work together to develop the basic necessities for operating a flying taxi service, including the "infrastructure, pilot training, flight operations, air traffic management, public acceptance, and the regulatory requirements to operate".

Public acceptance might be a challenge in Japan, where noise-sensitive residents have previously protested against low-altitude flights over urban areas.

Last year, Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported on noise complaints against US military helicopters in Tokyo, where the aircraft allegedly flew as low as 100 metres above residential areas.

"I want them to conduct flights that are more sensible," one resident told the paper.

 
 
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Businessweek
The Year Ahead

How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?

From mini jet engines to souped-up helicopters, here’s a look at what seven noteworthy players are working on.
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 11, 2022, 6:00 AM MST
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Flying taxis are coming, sooner than many think. A couple dozen startups, promising quieter and safer rides than in helicopters, have resulted in a crowded industry, backed by billions of dollars in investments and SPAC deals. So far, results have been mixed. Here are seven leaders.

Archer Aviation

Founded: 2018 by Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein
Range: 60 miles
Passenger capacity: 4+pilot
Top speed: 150 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Archer says its prototype electric Maker aircraft completed a first hover test flight on Dec. 16. The Palo Alto-based company plans extensive flight tests of the two-seater this year as it continues working to develop a four-seat version. It aims to obtain U.S. certification in 2024. — Justin Bachman

 

Beta Technologies

Founded: 2017 by Kyle Clark
Range: 250 miles
Passenger capacity: 5+pilot; 1,400 pounds
Top speed: N/A

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Burlington, Vt.-based Beta, whose investors include Fidelity and Amazon.com, intends to deliver first to the U.S. Air Force and then begin commercial shipments. United Parcel Service has ordered a cargo version of the electric eVTOL that it plans to use to shuttle packages between sorting hubs. —Thomas Black

 

Eve Urban Air Mobility

Founded: 2017 by Embraer SA
Range: 70 miles
Passenger capacity: 4+pilot
Top speed: 130 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Eve, spun out of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer in 2020, has eVTOL orders from 17 customers for 1,735 aircraft valued at $5.2 billion. Embraer in December agreed to merge the urban air mobility business with a special purpose acquisition company and plans to list shares publicly this year. It expects to gain FAA certification in 2025 and begin deliveries in 2026. —T.B.

 

Joby Aviation

Founded: 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt
Range: 150 miles
Passenger capacity: 4+pilot
Top speed: 200 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Joby’s first production aircraft is slated to roll off its California assembly line in 2022. The company aims to become a certified Part 135 aircraft operator this year, then get the regulatory permits to make and fly its aircraft. It plans to begin commercial passenger service in 2024. —J.B.

 

Lilium

Founded: 2015 by Daniel Wiegand (CEO), Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner, and Patrick Nathen
Range: 155 miles
Passenger capacity: 6+pilot
Top speed: 186 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Lilium, which uses mini jet engines rather than propellers, has a deal to build a flying-taxi network for Brazilian carrier Azul. Aerospace veterans on its board include ex-Airbus CEO Tom Enders. The company, based in Wessling, Germany, moved to a seven-seat design (from five) last year and aims to start service in 2024. — Charlotte Ryan

 

Vertical Aerospace

Founded: 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick
Range: 100 miles
Passenger capacity: 4+pilot
Top speed: 200 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Bristol, U.K.-based Vertical has taken more than 1,300 tentative orders for a model designed to whisk passengers to local airports. The startup’s first VA-X4 craft has yet to become airborne but is expected to hit that milestone sometime in the first half of 2022. —Christopher Jasper

 

Volocopter

Founded: 2011 by Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf
Range: 22 miles
Passenger capacity: 2
Top speed: 68 mph

relates to How Do the Leading Flying Taxi Companies Compare?
 
Illustration: Pete Sharp for Bloomberg Businessweek

Volocopter claims it will be the first to introduce sustainable air mobility and affordable air taxi service to megacities worldwide. The Bruchsal, Germany-based company’s eVTOLs have performed public demo flights in Dubai, Las Vegas, Singapore, and other cities. A commercial debut is anticipated in the next two years. —William Wilkes

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We went from 8-6-4-2 engines in the military and commercial aviation world and even at 2 engines there are times we have engine problems...

Now with some of these "rotor heads" we can anticipate the dreaded 15 , 13, 11, 9 engine approaches ????😅

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