Joby Aviation, the US company at the forefront of the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft industry, has conducted the first electric air taxi flight in New York City.
The eVTOL manufacturer flew its aircraft for an exhibition flight from the Downton Heliport in Manhattan, the first demonstration of the vehicle in an urban setting, as part of an event where Mayor Eric Adams announced the city would electrify the heliport.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.
“By electrifying one of the most famous heliports in the world, New York is demonstrating global leadership in the adoption of electric air travel. We’re grateful for the support of the city.”
The city has been identified by Joby as an expected early launch market for its services as part of a partnership with Delta Air Lines due to the potential of the technology in the city, which has become renowned for its high traffic congestion.
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The two companies have been working with the Port Authority of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on their plan to begin operations at the JFK and LaGuardia airports in the state.
Gail Grimmett, senior vice-president of sustainability performance and strategic partnerships at Delta, said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the great progress that’s been made toward launching clean, quiet and convenient air taxi services for Delta customers travelling to and from New York and is a testament to our innovative partners at Joby.”
Joby’s NYC flight also comes only a month after it conducted the first onboard pilot tests of its aircraft at its pilot production facility in California and continues its work towards receiving certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration.
While the company has already flown more than 30,000 miles in its prototype eVTOL aircraft and recently delivered the first electric air taxi to the US Air Force for on-base testing, it still only expects to begin commercial passenger services in 2025, with manufacturing to take place at its $500m factory being constructed in Dayton, Ohio.