Volocopter and NEOM complete test flights in Saudi Arabia
Volocopter and smart city NEOM have successfully completed over a week of test flights in Saudi Arabia.
This is the first time an eVTOL has received a special flight authorisation and performed test flights in the kingdom. Having first partnered 18 months ago, NEOM and Volocopter, with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), aim to launch and scale an urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem and testbed in NEOM. In 2021, the two firms founded a joint venture to scale advanced air mobility (AAM) with the developing city investing €175m ($192m) in the German OEM.
The campaign looked at aircraft flight performance in local environmental conditions, as well as testing its integration into the local unmanned aircraft system traffic management system.
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO, NEOM, said: “The successful test flight of a Volocopter eVTOL is not just another milestone on the journey towards the creation of NEOM’s innovative, sustainable, multimodal transportation system – it is a tangible example of NEOM as a global accelerator and incubator of solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Driving the development of smart, sustainable, and safe mobility systems will improve livability and connectivity in cities around the world and reduce carbon emissions, creating a cleaner future for all.”
Volocopter’s aircraft, the VoloCity, will be used in a variety of roles in NEOM, including as air taxis and emergency response vehicles. The OEM expects to obtain type certification for its air taxi in 2024. It also recently announced the launch of serial production at its facilities in Bruchsal, Germany, with a capacity to deliver more than 50 aircraft a year.
Abdulaziz A. Al-Duailej, president, General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia, said: “This safe and successful test flight represents an important milestone of the Saudi aviation sector and another steady step towards achieving the aviation sector’s strategy, through innovation and employing emerging technologies to create new industries that contribute to the output GDP and create more jobs.”
Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer and chief financial officer, Volocopter added: “It is beyond exciting to see our work from the past 18 months come to fruition. As the first eVTOL aircraft to ever test in Saudi Arabia, we are proud to have lain the groundwork for our future collaboration here in NEOM.”