Dubai-based private heliport operator Air Chateau International is set to launch an air taxi network in the Middle East.
The company has signed a preliminary agreement to purchase up to 100 next-generation electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from US-based Archer Aviation, a deal valued at $500 million, reported by the National News.
This marks a significant step for Archer Aviation in expanding its presence in the UAE, following its partnership announcement with the Abu Dhabi investment office in October.
Air Chateau intends to own and operate the eVTOL air taxis in the region, although the specific countries were not disclosed in their statement. The company has already made a non-refundable pre-delivery payment of $1 million, with additional pre-delivery payments totalling $4 million to be made after the signing of definitive agreements.
Acorn Capital, an Australia-based company interested in aviation financing and aircraft trading, will be Air Chateau’s financial partner in this transaction. According to Samir Mohamed, chairman and founder of Air Chateau, this partnership signifies a transformative era in the urban air mobility industry.
The UAE has been striving to lead in intelligent transport systems, aligning with its sustainability goals. Smart travel integrates advanced technology and data-driven solutions to create efficient and sustainable transport systems. The global smart transport sector is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of over 21% to reach approximately $404 billion by 2032, with the eVTOL aircraft market projected to reach about $35.8 billion by the same year.
At the Dubai Airshow, other air taxi companies also made strides in expansion. Spanish company Crisalion, for example, plans to test its zero-emission eVTOL vehicle, Integrity, in Dubai in 2024 through a partnership with UAE firm Valtrans Transportation Systems and Services.
Archer’s founder and CEO, Adam Goldstein, believes that air taxis align with the demands of the UAE market and will revolutionize urban mobility by changing how people move within cities. This development showcases the growing interest and investment in the region’s eVTOL technology and air taxi services.