Joby Aviation has successfully performed an exhibition flight in New York City, marking the first-ever electric air taxi flight in the city and the first time Joby Aviation’s aircraft has flown in an urban setting.
The company is one of several in the race to develop electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for future commercial passenger service.
The aircraft was flown on November 12, 2023, from the iconic Downtown Heliport in Manhattan, New York, watched by an invited audience that included New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
At the demonstration event, Mayor Adams announced the city’s intention to electrify the heliport, laying the groundwork for New York to become the global leader in adopting clean, quiet flight. Joby’s Manhattan exhibition flight followed several days of preparation flights at the HHI Heliport in Kearny, New Jersey.
Joby’s aircraft is designed to have a radically lower acoustic footprint than other current helicopters, allowing it to operate in densely populated areas such as New York City without adding to the background noise.
Joby has flown more than 30,000 miles with its full-scale prototype eVTOL aircraft, beginning its test flight program in 2017. The Company recently celebrated the first aircraft to roll off its Pilot Production Plant in Marina, California and delivered the first-ever electric air taxi to the US Air Force for on-base operational testing. Joby expects to launch its commercial passenger service in 2025.
“By electrifying one of the most famous heliports in the world, New York is demonstrating global leadership in adopting electric air travel,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “We’re grateful for the city’s support, and we’re honored to be working with visionary partners like Delta Air Lines to bring our air taxi service to this market. We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.”
Joby has previously announced that it expects New York to be one of its early launch markets after receiving certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and through a commercial partnership formed with US major Delta Air Lines.
Joby Aviation plans to offer fast, quiet journeys using its piloted, four-passenger electric aircraft with zero operating emissions.
According to company literature, Joby’s aircraft is “optimized for rapid, back-to-back flights and can fly up to 100 miles on a single charge, covering 99% of all trips across New York City’s five boroughs today. While traveling from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can take more than an hour by car, Joby expects the trip to take just seven minutes by air.”
Joby and Delta are working closely with the Port Authority of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as they plan initial operations, including infrastructure development at JFK and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA).
This ongoing work program builds on significant recent investments Delta has made in upgrading the customer experience at its New York hubs.
“Delivering exceptional experiences for our customers is why Delta has invested over $7B in New York City, especially at our LaGuardia and JFK hubs,” said Gail Grimmett, SVP of Sustainability Performance and Strategic Partnerships at Delta. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the great progress that’s been made toward launching clean, quiet, and convenient air taxi services for Delta customers traveling to and from New York and is a testament to our innovative partners at Joby and the support of Mayor Eric Adams in advancing new and sustainable technologies.”