Wednesday 24 July 2024

Saudi Arabia in groundbreaking air taxi trial; to reshape Hajj travel

RIYADH, June 12, 2024

In a historic move, Saudi Arabia has successfully conducted its first air taxi trial in Makkah, setting the stage for deployment in the coming years and transforming Hajj transportation for pilgrims.
The groundbreaking air taxi trial, featuring an EH216-S pilotless eVTOL aircraft. was led by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, the Ministry of Hajj, the Ministry of Interior, and Front End Limited Company.
Conducted in a low-risk area with protected airspace, this initiative is set to redefine the Hajj experience by enhancing mobility, reducing congestion, and promoting sustainability, said a statement from GACA.
The trial provides invaluable insights and technical data to support GACA’s development of an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Roadmap, including a robust regulatory framework tailored to provide safe and sustainable air transport solutions for Hajj pilgrims. 
AAM solutions are projected to support tens of thousands of pilgrims and generate tens of millions in revenue by 2030.
By significantly reducing travel and delivery times, air taxis can accelerate the mobility of pilgrims and goods and improve emergency medical services during the pilgrimage season, it added. 
Saleh Al Jasser, Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, emphasising the trial's impact, said:
"This groundbreaking trial is a pivotal step towards a faster, more efficient, and sustainable Hajj travel. Saudi Arabia is leveraging pioneering technologies to empower pilgrims with a seamless and sustainable pilgrimage experience."
Abdulaziz Al Duailej, the President of GACA, said: "This Air Taxi Trial marks a major advancement in integrating Advanced Air Mobility solutions into Saudi Arabia’s aviation landscape. GACA is committed to enabling new safe and sustainable forms of air transport, elevating travel for pilgrims and passengers across Saudi Arabia."
"This trial acts as a proof of concept for multiple use cases and contributes to the advancement of mobility solutions across the kingdom," he noted.
Majid Alghaslan, the CEO of Front End, said: "Front End is paving the way to a new era in smart mobility solutions, potentially revolutionizing Hajj transportation. Aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, our purpose is to foster a ‘Connected Kingdom,’ serving as a gateway for our partners to access growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the wider region."
"This achievement stands as a testament to the power of government-private partnerships in accelerating new technology adoption. Partnering with EHang made this pioneering solution a reality," he added.
Saudi Arabia has invested hundreds of millions into AAM solutions to scale the sector, as the Saudi Aviation Strategy (SAS) transforms the Kingdom into the Middle East’s leading aviation hub by 2030.
The strategy is unlocking more than $100 billion of investment, with passenger numbers growing by 26% in 2023 to 112 million.
GACA hosted an AAM pavilion at the 2024 Future Aviation Forum in May, alongside an aviation investment showcase to enable investment in the aviation sector.-TradeArabia News Service


More Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Stories

calendarCalendar of Events