The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Dubai Ruler Gives Go-ahead for Vertiport Network Plans

Dubai’s ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has approved plans to develop vertiports as part of the emirate’s future air mobility infrastructure network. The decision was announced on February 14 following a joint presentation by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) with Skyports Infrastructure and eVTOL aircraft developer Joby Aviation at the start of the 2023 World Government Summit.

The RTA’s plans call for a vertiport network to be in place to support the launch of air taxi services in 2026. Working with Skyports, the agency has identified sites for vertiports at Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown, and Dubai Marina. These facilities are expected to provide travelers with easy connections to Dubai’s metro network.

During the event, a senior Dubai government delegation, which also included Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was shown an architectural model of the vertiport planned for Dubai International Airport. The presentation was led by RTA chairman Mattar Al Tayer. Sheikh Mohammed is also the United Arab Emirates’ vice president, prime minister, and defense minister.

Dubai's ruler HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum personally approved plans to build vertiports following a presentation at the World Government Summit.
Plans for a network of vertiports in Dubai were approved by its ruler, HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (second from left), following a presentation at the World Government Summit. (Image: RTA/Skyports)

“The RTA’s plan for aerial taxis is in line with the Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy, which aims to make 25 percent of all trips in Dubai driverless by 2030,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan of the Public Transport Agency. “The project aims to roll out a new mobility service driven by pioneering technology to ease the mobility of individuals across urban areas in a safe, smooth, and sustainable manner integrated with the public transport network in Dubai.”

In December 2022, Canadian infrastructure group VPorts announced plans to develop an advanced air mobility business park in Dubai. Construction at a 37,ooo-sq-m (nine-acre) site is due to start this year with the first part of the facility expected to open in 2024.

Abu Dhabi-based helicopter and business jet operator Falcon Aviation plans to launch eVTOL air taxi services from the Atlantis the Palm luxury resort in Dubai in 2026. In June 2022, the company signed a letter of intent to buy 35 of Eve Air Mobility's four-passenger eVTOL aircraft.

UK-based Skyports is also working to develop vertiports in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia and has a drone operations business unit.