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Toyota-backed Joby Aviation Granted Air Carrier Certificate From the FAA to Begin ‘Air Taxi' Operations With its 4-Passenger, eVTOL Aircraft

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【Summary】California-based aviation startup Joby Aviation, which aims to launch a commercial air taxi service using electric vertical take-off-and-landing aircraft (eVTOL), is one step closer to its goal. The company was granted The Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA that allows the company to begin commercial operations and carry passengers in its eVTOL aircraft.

Eric Walz    May 26, 2022 10:00 AM PT
Toyota-backed Joby Aviation Granted Air Carrier Certificate From the FAA to Begin ‘Air Taxi' Operations With its 4-Passenger, eVTOL Aircraft
Joby Aviation employees show off the Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate granted by the FAA.

California-based aviation startup Joby Aviation, which aims to launch a commercial air taxi service using electric vertical take-off-and-landing aircraft (eVTOL), is one step closer to its goal. The company was granted the Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that allows the company to begin commercial operations and carry passengers in its eVTOL aircraft.

Joby said its received the certification ahead of schedule. It originally was expected to be granted in the second half of 2022. The rigorous requirements for the FAA's Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate makes it difficult for aviation startups to obtain. 

Joby says the five-stage process included the submission of more than 850 pages of manuals for approval. It also required Joby's initial group of pilots to demonstrate mastery of the company's procedures and training under FAA observation.

"The procedures we've prepared lay a foundation for our future eVTOL operations," said Bonny Simi, Head of Air Operations and People at Joby, and one of the Company's FAA-approved pilots. "Over the coming months, we will use our Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multi-modal ridesharing service, while also refining our procedures to ensure seamless journeys for our customers."

"Receiving this certificate ahead of schedule is a testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of our team," Simi added.

Joby Aviation was founded in 2009 and is based in Santa Cruz, California. The company has around 1,000 employees. Joby also has satellite offices in San Carlos, and Marina, California, Washington, D.C. and Munich, Germany. 

Joby is among a handful of well-funded eVTOL startups, including Germany-based aviation company Lilium, that are racing to develop eVTOL aircraft that can carry passengers.

Joby's eVTOL aircraft is designed to transport a pilot and up to four passengers distances of up to 150 miles, speeds of up to 200 mph on a single charge. The aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane in forward flight. All of the flight systems are built with high levels of redundancy for enhanced safety and reliability.

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Joby Aviation's 4-passenger, battery-powered eVTOL aircraft can can fly over 150 miles on a single charge and reach speeds of 200 mph.

Joby's team of engineers and physicists have been working largely in stealth for the past decade developing the ultra-quiet, all-electric aircraft, which the company says will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on-demand urban air taxi market.

Joby recently announced the results of acoustic testing with NASA, which confirmed the aircraft hit the Company's target for low noise emissions during take-off and landing as well as overhead flight.   

Joby's says its eVTOL aircraft is 100 times quieter than conventional jet-powered aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead. The passenger experience will be optimized for comfortable aerial ride-sharing operations, so it will be easy for passengers to enter for departure and exit the aircraft after landing.

Joby plans to launch an on-demand air taxi service that can whisk passengers over urban traffic on the ground in U.S. cities, which can cut hours-long commute times down to just 15 minutes.

In Jan 2020, Joby announced a $590 million Series C funding round led by Toyota Motor Corp. The automaker's contribution in the round was $394 million. As part of the investment, Shigeki Tomoyama, the Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, joined Joby Aviation's board of directors. 

Also participating in Joby Aviation's 2020 funding round was SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures.

Toyota is supporting Joby with its expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls to support the development and production of Joby's fleet of eVTOL aircraft. 

In Dec 2020, Joby Aviation made headlines when it agreed to take over ride-hailing company Uber's air taxi unit "Elevate". Uber invested $75 million in Joby as part of the deal. Uber planned to add air taxis to its ride-hailing business and even shared details of a "skyport" that could be constructed on building rooftops. However, Uber offloaded its Elevate unit in order to focus more on its core ride-hailing and food delivery business.

Joby Aviation intends to operate its convenient air taxi service beginning in 2024.


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