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eVTOL firm Archer to manufacture in Abu Dhabi
Archer to open international headquarters and manufacturing facilities
#UAE #eVTOL - California electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer Archer has signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to open its first international headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) Cluster in Abu Dhabi. Archer will also launch an air taxi service across the UAE by 2026, working with including UAE aviation services company Falcon Aviation and EDGE Group company GAL-AMMROC.
SO WHAT? - The Archer announcement bolsters the aviation proposition of Abu Dhabi's new Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries (SAVI) cluster, which was announced last week. It was previously announced that Joby Aviation, a US company linked to Dubai's plans for eVTOL air taxi services, would be involved in SAVI, although details were not confirmed. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) have announced that a MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) facility will be established a SAVI to support eVTOL operators.
ADIO is providing a package of incentives to Archer to establish its international operations and manufacturing in SAVI, making the United Arab Emirates its first international market outside of the United States.
Archer will work with its global manufacturing partner Stellantis to build a high-volume manufacturing plant and establish an engineering Center of Excellence to support the growing advanced air mobility industry in the UAE and across the Middle East. It will focus on the development and implementation of next-generation aviation technologies.
Archer signed MOUs with Falcon Aviation who will operate its all-electric air taxis across Dubai and Abu Dhabi starting 2026, as well as GAL-AMMROC who will provide MRO support for Archer’s eVTOL aircraft.
Archer will showcase its piloted, four-passenger Midnight aircraft to the region for the first time at the Dubai Airshow, as well as the Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF) hosted by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) the following week in Dubai.
Archer has raised over $1.1 billion of funding to date, including investments from Mubadala Capital, United Airlines, Stellantis, and Boeing.
ZOOM OUT - The UAE has long wanted to join the global race to introduce eVTOL air taxi services, with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority signing agreements with Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle company EHang and German manufacturer Volocopter as far back as 2017. However, all eVTOL startups have delayed commercial services over the past few years, due to technological and regulatory challenges.
Joby Aviation last year delayed its commercial services launch from 2024 to 2025, so in time for it to launch air taxi services from Dubai in 2026. Archer flew its Midnight eVTOL for the first time this year and plans to deliver the first production model to a customer by the end of this year. Archer’s goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60–90-minute commutes by car with estimated 10-20 minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive with ground transportation.
The earliest planned commercial launch is currently the Volocopter eVTOL air taxi service planned for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. Saudi Arabia's megacity project NEOM announced a $175 million investment in Volocopter last year, with plans to launch services at NEOM in 2025.
IMO - The stars seem to be aligning for the UAE's nascent eVTOL services sector. Following the industry learnings of the past few years, it now seems likely that commercial eVTOL air taxi services are will be able to launch in 2026. Aviation regulation in the UAE, as with most of the rest of the world, still lags. However, with both Abu Dhabi and Dubai backing commercial service launches, one would expect that regulations will now be fast-tracked to support this new sector and allow the UAE to take a leadership position.
Find out more about this story
Abu Dhabi confirms anchor deals for SAVI (Middle East AI News)
Abu Dhabi announces new smart mobility cluster (Middle East AI News)
UAE urban air mobility set for takeoff? (Middle East AI News)
Saudi Arabia's eVTOL future (Middle East AI News)
Will the skies ever buzz with eVTOLs? (Middle East AI News)
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