Saudi Arabia Trials Air Taxis Without Pilots Ahead of Hajj Peak

ENTRE News – Saudi Arabian authorities are holding their first air taxi trial ahead of the peak of the Hajj. The taxi is an EHang EH216-S pilotless eVTOL aircraft. The trials were conducted in low-risk areas with protected airspace.

“This breakthrough trial is an important step towards a faster, more efficient and more sustainable Hajj journey. Saudi Arabia is leveraging pioneering technology to empower Hajj pilgrims with a smooth and sustainable Hajj experience,” said Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Saleh Al-Jasser FOR4D.

This trial was led by the General Authority of Aviation (GACA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, the Ministry of Hajj, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Front End Limited Company FOR4D.

The trial provided invaluable technical insights and data to support the development of GACA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Roadmap, including a robust regulatory framework designed to provide safe and sustainable air transport solutions for Hajj pilgrims FOR4D.

“This air taxi trial marks major progress in integrating Advanced Air Mobility solutions into Saudi Arabia’s aviation landscape. GACA is committed to enabling a new form of safe and sustainable air transportation, improving travel for pilgrims and passengers throughout Saudi Arabia,” said the President GACA, Abdulaziz Al-Duailej FOR4D.

He continued, “This trial acts as a proof of concept for various use cases and contributes to the advancement of mobility solutions across the Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in AAM to scale the sector. This is done in line with the Saudi Aviation Strategy (SAS) which intends to turn the Oil Country into a leading aviation hub in the Middle East FOR4D by 2030.

This strategy unlocks more than 100 billion USD (around IDR 1.6 quadrillion) of investment, with passenger numbers expected to grow by 26 percent in 2023 to 112 million people.

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