Joby Aviation, Inc., a company developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service, successfully performed an exhibition flight in New York City yesterday, marking the first-ever electric air taxi flight in the city and the first time Joby has flown in an urban setting.
The aircraft was flown on Sunday, November 12th, from the iconic Downtown Heliport in Manhattan, NY, where today, New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, announced the city’s intention to electrify the heliport, laying the groundwork for New York to become the global leader in the adoption of clean, quiet flight. Joby’s Manhattan flight and participation in the press conference – during which the aircraft is expected to fly again – follows several days of preparation flights at the HHI Heliport in Kearny, New Jersey.
“By electrifying one of the most famous heliports in the world, New York is demonstrating global leadership in the adoption of electric air travel. We’re grateful for the support of the city, and we’re honored to be working with visionary partners like Delta Air Lines to bring our air taxi service to this market,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.”
Joby previously announced through its partnership with Delta Air Lines that it expects New York to be one of its early launch markets after receiving certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The company plans to offer fast, quiet journeys using its piloted, four-passenger electric aircraft, which has zero operating emissions. Joby’s aircraft is optimized for rapid, back-to-back flights and can fly up to 100 miles on a single charge, covering 99% of all trips taken today across New York City’s five boroughs. While traveling from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can take more than an hour by car, Joby expects the trip to take just seven minutes by air.
“The Adams Administration has been a leader in driving technology innovation and economic growth while simultaneously improving quality of life,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “EDC’s new strategy for the Downtown Manhattan Heliport reflects these priorities while making it an industry leader in the embrace of eVTOLS – a quieter and greener helicopter alternative – while at the same time facilitating maritime freight with last mile e-bike deliveries that take trucks off the roads.”
Joby and Delta are working closely with the Port Authority of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as they plan for initial operations, including the development of infrastructure at JFK and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA). This builds on significant recent investments Delta has made in upgrading the customer experience at its New York hubs.
“Delivering exceptional experiences for our customers is why Delta has invested over $7B in New York City, especially at our LaGuardia and JFK hubs,” said Gail Grimmett, SVP of Sustainability Performance and Strategic Partnerships at Delta. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the great progress that’s been made toward launching clean, quiet and convenient air taxi services for Delta customers traveling to and from New York, and is a testament to our innovative partners at Joby and the support of Mayor Eric Adams in advancing new and sustainable technologies.”
Aviation High School Principal Steven Jackson was an invited guest and speaker who spoke to the crowd about the ways in which Joby Aviation and Aviation High School are working together to incorporate this new technology into their curriculum and workforce aviation maintenance training program.
Joby’s aircraft was designed to have a radically lower acoustic footprint than today’s helicopters, allowing it to operate in densely populated areas such as New York City without adding to the background noise. In 2022, Joby collaborated with NASA to measure the sound of its aircraft, confirming it registered the equivalent of 45.2 A-weighted decibels (dBA) when flying overhead at an altitude of 1640 feet (500 meters) – quieter than a typical conversation.
Joby has flown more than 30,000 miles with its full-scale prototype eVTOL aircraft, beginning in 2017. The Company recently celebrated the first aircraft to roll off its Pilot Production Plant in Marina, California and delivered the first-ever electric air taxi to the US Air Force for on-base operational testing. Joby expects to launch its commercial passenger service in 2025.