Leading air taxi developer Joby has announced it has officially begun the process of seeking certification of its electric takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) in the UK, the second country in which it is doing so after its home US market.
Santa Cruz-based Joby revealed the move ahead of the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow, where next-generation aviation companies and tech are generating more interest than ever. Part of the reason for that excitement is nearing air taxi and other eVTOL services around the world – including an eventual UK launch – and Joby’s formal certification bid brings that much closer.
The company began its efforts to seek US certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last June and has made remarkable progress in that exacting process since. By May, it announced it had received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate, nearly a half year ahead of schedule, allowing it operate traditional aircraft to prepare the launch of next-generation services by 2024. In filing its paperwork with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Joby is looking to make the UK the second market in which it will operate eVTOL air taxi flights.
“We’re incredibly excited about the potential for electric aerial ridesharing to offer a new form of clean and affordable urban and regional connectivity across the U.K., where more than 80% of the population lives in, or near, cities,” said Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt.
In March, it set up operations within the UK’s air transport sector as part of its quest to do business in the country in what turned out to be a well-timed move. The same month, the FAA and CAA revealed their plans to work together to streamline and facilitate approval criteria and processes as a means of supporting the introduction of clean aviation tech.
“By working hand-in-hand on certification, the U.K. and the U.S. are setting the stage for these two countries to be amongst the earliest adopters of this important new technology,” Bevirt said. “We strongly believe that a collaborative approach to regulation helps to foster greater safety and accelerate the introduction of new technologies that benefit the public and the environment.”
Joby is developing a five-seat piloted eVTOL with a maximum range of 150 miles designed for air taxis to use within cities and between urban areas. Its push toward US certification has been swift, despite the February crash of a prototype found to have been caused by “component failure.”