Timeline: Planned – to be launched within two to five years; funds have been committed and key industry partners identified
In December 2021 NEOM and Volocopter announced they were collaborating to design, implement and operate the world’s first bespoke public vertical mobility system. According to a press release: “Air taxi and vertical logistics services will be fully integrated with the overall multi-modal and zero-emission public transit system in NEOM.” And goes on, “The joint venture will be the sole operator of initial public transit routes across NEOM, while enabling an open eVTOL ecosystem for vertical mobility services including logistics, emergency response, and tourism.”
NEOM has placed a confirmed order of 15 Volocopter aircraft to commence initial flight operations within the next 2-3 years.
The partnership between NEOM and Volocopter is to lead the design and development of “a three-dimensional public transportation system, advancing the technical, regulatory, and infrastructure solutions for eVTOL operations across NEOM” and offers vertical mobility services as an integral part of the city’s “multi-modal and zero-emissions public mobility system, providing seamless connectivity for passengers and goods.”
The release continues, “Volocopter and NEOM have agreed an initial order of 10 VoloCity passenger and 5 VoloDrone logistics aircraft to support early activation of flight operations. The joint venture will scale-up its activities from the beginning of 2022 to incubate urban air mobility (UAM) in the region and seed a vertical mobility ecosystem.”
NEOM is located in Tabuk at the far north-west of Saudi Arabia. It will cover a total area of 10,200 sq miles and extend along the coast of the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia aims to complete the first section of NEOM by 2025. The project has an estimated cost of USD500 billion.