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Joby advances plans to operate its own eVTOL ridesharing service

Two days after announcing its record-setting 150-mile eVTOL flight, California-based Joby revealed it has started the process of obtaining a Part 135 air carrier certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Joby eVTOL in flight
Joby aims to launch its eVTOL ridesharing service in 2024. Joby Photo

Part 135 approval is essential to Joby’s plans for operating an aerial ridesharing service with its five-seat eVTOL air taxis. Unlike some competing eVTOL developers, which are partnering with established air carriers for operations, Joby plans to handle operations in-house. “We believe this business model will generate the greatest economic returns, while providing us with end-to-end control over the customer experience to optimize for customer safety, comfort, and value,” the company has stated in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Joby said it is now in the first of five stages necessary for achieving Part 135 certification in 2022. The company expects to start the next stage of the process in August, with the submission of additional application materials including operating manuals. Once that documentation is approved, the FAA will conduct on-site evaluations of Joby’s training sessions and flight operations before approving the company as an air carrier that can transport persons or property for compensation or hire.

The company plans to have conventional aircraft on its Part 135 operating certificate to start with, then will add its own eVTOL aircraft once the model receives its FAA type certificate, expected in 2023. Joby aims to launch its all-electric aerial ridesharing service in select U.S. cities in 2024.

“We’re excited to reach this milestone on the path toward becoming the first eVTOL airline in the world,” stated Bonny Simi, Joby’s head of air operations, in a press release. Simi, who has over 30 years of experience as an airline pilot at JetBlue Airways and United Airlines, held key operational and strategic positions at JetBlue before joining Joby earlier this year.

Joby’s air operations team also includes assistant director of operations Kellen Mollahan, a former U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 pilot; director of maintenance Matthew Lykins, an expert maintenance safety inspector and auditor, avionics technician, and pilot; director of flight standards and training Peter Wilson, former lead test pilot for the F-35B program; and Jill Wilson, an aviation safety leader who has held roles at Embraer, XO Jet, and Cape Air.

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