Dubai does it again, and how! Displaying unprecedented technology, the Emirate is set to become the first city in the world with a fully-developed network of air taxi services. Come 2026, and travelers will realize their childhood fantasy of going home or to the hotel in flying taxis, also known as ‘vertiports.’ It sounds incredibly futuristic, but this avant-garde reality straight out of the 1990s cartoon The Jetsons is only three years away. These aerial taxis will glide over traffic with cruising speeds of up to 300 km/h and a maximum range of 241 km.
Simply put, it will take no more than six minutes to go from the Dubai International Airport to The Palm, as opposed to the nearly one-hour commute by car, according to TimeoutDubai. The initial launch will connect four areas in Dubai, including Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah. The CEO of a London-based company, Skyports, tasked to build the UAE’s first vertiport, Duncan Walker, said, “Dubai will be the first city (in the world) with a fully-developed network of vertiports for permanent air taxi services by 2026.”
He added, “An exemplary project on the horizon is the aerial taxi set for the start of operations in 2026. This groundbreaking venture will travel at a maximum distance of 241 km, cruising at speeds of up to 300 km per hour”.
What is a vertiport?
The flying taxi service will use an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft called eVTOL. Unlike a helicopter, a vertiport facilitates the operation of multiple drone-like aircraft, with special requirements to secure adequate spacing between landing and launching pads. Each ride will accommodate a pilot and up to four passengers. Skyports Infrastructure had its vertiport design approved for development at the World Government Summit in Dubai in February of this year in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.