Updated January 2024
Saudi Arabia is pioneering flying taxis as a futuristic transportation mode, symbolizing a leap into the future while strategically aligning with the country’s commitment to sustainable development goals. The flying taxi project showcases the Kingdom’s dedication to cultivating a greener and technologically advanced future by integrating eco-friendly and efficient solutions into modern cities
In this article, Wego has provided essential information related to the development of flying taxis in Saudi Arabia.
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Saudi flying taxi news
As per reports, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) intends to operate air taxis to transport Hajj and Umrah pilgrims between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and hotels in Makkah.
Positioned as one of the pioneering airlines in the MENA region embracing sustainable air mobility, Saudia plans to acquire 100 all-electric Lilium Jets, the German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
According to Abdullah Al Shahrani, director of corporate communications and spokesman of the Saudia Group, the airline is gearing up to incorporate air taxis as a novel means of transportation, particularly during the Hajj season
Furthermore, Al Shahrani stated that flying taxis can transport four to six passengers and would shorten the time of flights, as they cover a maximum distance of 250 km. The aircraft also features a unique cabin that offers several options for seat arrangement.
The Saudia Group has entered into an agreement to procure 100 Lilium jets for shuttle services between Jeddah airport and designated airstrips near Makkah hotels, including those near the Grand Mosque and other holy sites. With zero operating emissions, the Lilium Jet aligns with sustainable and time-efficient travel, enabling Saudia to contribute to the country’s strategy for sustainable air mobility development.
What is the Saudi flying taxi?
Saudi Arabia has been developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which will operate as flying taxis in the near future. Compared to helicopters, the eVTOL will be less expensive and more versatile. They will also align with Saudi Arabia’s environmental vision by using renewable energy and requiring less infrastructure on the ground.
The eVTOL development has progressed rapidly as it has completed the first air taxi test flights. The flying taxi that was developed for 18 months under the collaboration between Volocopter, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), and NEOM has performed the flight test that lasted over a week in NEOM.
With the successful completion of this test, Volocopter anticipates securing type certification for its VoloCity air taxi in 2024, positioning it as the primary mobility system in NEOM.
Besides the eVTOL by Volocopter, Eve Air Mobility and Flynas have also recently signed a deal to develop the air taxi. These two companies will explore the possibility of starting eVTOL operations in Riyadh and Jeddah in order to develop a transportation network that is more accessible and sustainable. The partnership will further support the ambitious aims in the aviation sector as well as the sustainability goals of Vision 2030.
Saudi flying taxi cost
The cost of Saudi flying taxis remains undisclosed at this time. While official figures have not been released, preliminary estimates suggest that the air taxi service may be priced at around USD 5.73 per passenger mile.
Please note that this projection is speculative and awaits official confirmation from the relevant authorities or the responsible company. We will update the information as and when released by the officials.