Sunday, March 3, 2024

New York City Just Got One Step Closer to Electric Air Taxis


Joby Aviation, Inc., a pioneer in developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service, has taken a significant step forward in its expansion plans.

According to Joby, it has finalized a definitive agreement with Helo Holdings, Inc. (HHI) to establish the first air taxi charger in the greater New York City area. This charger will be installed at HHI’s Kearny, New Jersey heliport — located just a two-minute flight from Manhattan.

This latest development is a continuation of Joby’s collaboration with HHI, which began last November when Kearny heliport served as a temporary base for Joby’s aircraft. This partnership enabled Joby to conduct several preparatory flights in the area, including a showcase flight in New York City, an event organized by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Mayor Eric Adams. The city has shown its commitment to this innovative transportation mode by planning to electrify the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, a move that will facilitate electric air taxi operations.

The Kearny heliport, which first opened in 2011, is the largest vertical-lift facility on the East Coast. It currently accommodates 27 helicopter parking spots, with plans to expand to 32. The heliport not only offers ground services but also provides hangar space for maintenance operations, making it a crucial hub for helicopter operators in one of the world’s busiest low-altitude corridors.

joby air taxi
Courtesy Joby Aviation

Under the new agreement, HHI will upgrade its electrical infrastructure to accommodate the installation of Joby’s Global Electric Aviation Charging System (“GEACS”). This system is designed to ensure the safe and efficient operation of all electric aircraft currently under development, including Joby’s own quiet, emissions-free air taxi. “We’re pleased to expand our partnership with HHI as we prepare to install our GEACS charging system at Kearny Heliport. Kearny is expected to become the first heliport with an air taxi charger in the tri-state area and enable the launch of our quiet, emissions-free air taxi service in the greater New York City region,” JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby, said in a statement.

The GEACS charging interface, which is already operational at Joby’s flight test center in Marina, California, and Edwards Air Force Base, represents a significant advancement in the infrastructure needed to support electric aircraft. Joby also recently reached a definitive agreement with Clay Lacy Aviation to install a similar charging system at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Jeff Hyman, Founder and CEO of HHI, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, saying, “We continue to expand our footprint in Kearny in support of one of the busiest low-altitude corridors in the world, and we’re thrilled to partner with Joby, one of the leading developers of electric air taxis, to bring the next wave of quiet aircraft to residents of the tri-state area.”

Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt with the air taxi
Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt | Courtesy

In 2022, Joby announced a comprehensive commercial and operational partnership with Delta Air Lines. This multi-year, multi-city collaboration aims to provide seamless airport trips for Delta customers in various locations, including Los Angeles and New York City.

Joby’s air taxi, designed to accommodate a pilot and four passengers, is capable of reaching speeds up to 200 mph. This innovative mode of transportation offers high-speed mobility with significantly less noise than helicopters and zero in-flight emissions, making it a groundbreaking addition to urban transit options.

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