Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE is creating a sustainable transportation network with electric air taxi services set to debut in 2027. Olivia Palamountain reports

Ras Al Khaimah is set to introduce electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxis, thanks to a new partnership wth Skyports Infrastructure (Skyports).

Skyports has also signed an agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority and all-electric aircraft company Joby Aviation (pictured above) to launch passenger air taxi services in Dubai by 2026. Joby Aviation will also be supplying flying taxis to the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Under the new agreement, Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority (RAKTA), Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Skyports will design, develop and operate the eVTOL air taxi ecosystem, with commercial operations set to commence by 2027.

A first for the Emirate, the collaboration aims to pioneer sustainable tourism through electric air mobility, aligning with RAKTA’s Strategic Plan 2030 and supporting its objective of (responsibly) attracting 3.5 million visitors annually by this date.

The project will integrate Skyports’ vertiport infrastructure with RAKTA’s existing transport network, providing fast and convenient zero-emission transport to the Emirate’s most popular areas and attractions, including Al Marjan Island, Al Hamra, and Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak.

The introduction of air taxi services is expected to significantly reduce travel times between these iconic sites. For instance, the journey from Al Marjan Island to Jebel Jais, which currently takes approximately 70 minutes by car, will be cut to less than 20 minutes with the launch of eVTOL services.By providing zero-emission transportation options, the Emirate is reinforcing its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development, aligning with Skyports’ design approach that prioritises integration with existing public transit networks to promote more sustainable transportation.

This initiative directly addresses the pressing need for innovative solutions to cut carbon emissions in ground transportation, a sector that accounts for 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the travel and tourism industry, as highlighted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Furthermore, it will unlock future opportunities to integrate with air taxi networks across the UAE.

Esmaeel Hasan Al Blooshi, Director General of RAKTA, says: “This partnership marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to revolutionise transportation in Ras Al Khaimah. By introducing electric air mobility, we’re not just connecting tourists to our attractions, we’re forging a sustainable path forward for our Emirate.

“This innovative project aligns perfectly with our commitment to enhancing accessibility while minimising our environmental impact. Together, we’re shaping a brighter, greener future for Ras Al Khaimah.”