American eVTOL developer Archer has announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be its launch market.
Archer expects regular “flying taxi” operations to commence in the Middle Eastern country as early as 2026.
The advanced air mobility startup has the backing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, as well as the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). Archer already has links to Abu Dhabi through Mubadala Investment Company, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, which is an investor in the Californian startup.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on October 16, 2023, by Archer and ADIO contemplates not just the financial incentives offered by the latter, but also a number of initiatives aimed at making the UAE, and the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) Cluster in particular, a global hub of the advanced air mobility industry.
Archer will create a Center of Excellence in the UAE and will work together with companies in the local industrial aerospace and MRO ecosystem, such as GAL, Advanced Military Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Center (AMMROC) and Falcon Aviation Services. Archer may also consider the manufacture of eVTOL aircraft in the UAE in the future within the framework of these initiatives.
Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft is expected to make an appearance at the upcoming Dubai Air Show, which will take place November 13-17, 2023.
Abu Dhabi is not the only emirate vying to be at the forefront of eVTOL development. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has also endorsed a number of initiatives to facilitate the establishment of eVTOL manufacturers and operators in the territory.
In February 2023, for example, it was announced that Joby Aviation and vertiport developer Skyports were planning to roll out an urban air mobility network in Dubai by 2026.