Joby Aviation Inc. performed a demonstration flight in New York City on Sunday, marking the first time an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi has flown in the city and the first flight for the company’s aircraft in an urban setting.
The Joby eVTOL flew from the well-known Downtown Heliport (KJRB) in Manhattan, where New York Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced the city’s plans to electrify the heliport. The move would be a major step toward development of an eVTOL transport network in New York, a city known for a range of mobility challenges.
“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, Joby’s founder and CEO. “We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers, while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.”
Joby said the demonstration flight followed several days of preparation flights at the HHI Heliport (65NJ) in Kearny, New Jersey. The company previously announced that it expects New York to be one of its early launch markets after receiving certification for its piloted, four-passenger eVTOL aircraft.
Joby said its aircraft can fly up to 100 sm on a charge and is optimized for rapid, back-to-back flights. It could complete nearly all typical trips across the five New York boroughs. While the notoriously difficult journey from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport (KJFK) can take more than an hour by car, Joby expects to make the trip in 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 Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “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.”
Joby said it is working with partner Delta Air Lines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City EDC as they plan for eVTOL operations. Efforts include development of infrastructure at KJFK and LaGuardia Airport (KLGA). Delta said these plans will build on other recent improvements it has made at its New York hubs.
“Delivering exceptional experiences for our customers is why Delta has invested over $7 billion in New York City, especially at our LaGuardia and JFK hubs,” said Gail Grimmett, senior vice president of sustainability performance and strategic partnerships at Delta. “[Monday’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.”
Joby said it has flown more than 30,000 miles with its full-scale prototype eVTOL aircraft since 2017. The company’s pilot production plant in Marina, California, recently completed its first aircraft. Joby also delivered an electric air taxi to the U.S. Air Force for testing. Joby expects to begin commercial passenger service in 2025.