Joby Unveils Ride-Hailing App for On-Demand Flying Taxis, and More

Joby Unveils Ride-Hailing App for On-Demand Flying Taxis, and More
Image Credit: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation has announced the development of its proprietary software suite, ElevateOS, which has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This software is designed to support high-tempo, on-demand air taxi operations, bringing the concept of flying taxis closer to reality.

Key Points

  • ElevateOS Software Suite: Joby's ElevateOS includes pilot tools, operations and schedule management software, a mobile-first rider app, and an intelligent matching engine. This system is designed to pair passengers with available aircraft and landing infrastructure efficiently, similar to ride-hailing apps.
  • FAA Approval: The FAA has granted regulatory clearance for Joby to use ElevateOS, marking a significant milestone towards the commercial operation of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
  • Real-World Testing: The software suite has undergone extensive real-world testing over the past two years, leveraging Joby's Part 135 certification, which allows for on-demand passenger services.
  • Commercial Operations by 2025: Joby plans to launch its air taxi services in U.S. markets such as New York City and Los Angeles, as well as internationally in Dubai, as early as 2025. The company has partnerships with Delta Air Lines and the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA).
  • Pilot Training and Infrastructure: Joby has developed a comprehensive pilot training program and is working on infrastructure partnerships to support its air taxi operations. The company is also developing flight simulators in collaboration with CAE.

What It Means

The development and FAA approval of ElevateOS is another milestone forward in the commercialization of air taxis.

This software suite will enable Joby to offer efficient, on-demand air taxi services, potentially transforming urban transportation by reducing travel times and providing an attractive alternative to traditional ground-based transport.

The planned launch in 2025, supported by strategic partnerships and rigorous testing, positions Joby as a frontrunner in the emerging eVTOL market.

Other Key Updates

  • Archer Aviation has revealed preliminary plans for a regional "urban mobility network" that could slash travel times and transform how people move around the Bay Area. The electric aircraft startup aims to connect five strategic locations - South San Francisco, Napa, San Jose, Oakland, and Livermore - with estimated 10-20 minute flights, replacing 60-90 minute commutes by car.
  • dnata, a leading global air and travel services provider, has launched operations at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, investing $2 million and creating over 25 new local jobs. This expansion marks dnata's continued growth in the U.S. market.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating another runway incursion incident at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, this time involving a Swiss Airbus A330 and four other aircraft. The details of this latest close call at JFK are still emerging as the NTSB probes the circumstances surrounding the incident.

WestJet Mechanics Strike Called Off; But Around 40 Flights Still Canceled

Strikes by WestJet mechanics have been called off after the airline and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) agreed to return to the bargaining table. Despite this, around 40 flights have already been canceled, affecting thousands of passengers.

Key Points

  • Strike Called Off: WestJet and AMFA have agreed to resume negotiations, leading to the cancellation of the planned strike by around 670 mechanics.
  • Flight Cancellations: However, in earlier anticipation of the strike, WestJet had proactively canceled around 40 flights, impacting thousands of passengers.
  • Union's Position: The union had previously rejected a tentative agreement with a 97.1% vote, citing insufficient negotiation efforts from WestJet.
  • Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB): WestJet appeared before the CIRB to request arbitration, but the board requires more time to decide.
  • Passenger Impact: The cancellations have caused significant disruption, with WestJet working to reaccommodate affected passengers and resume normal operations.

What It Means

The decision to call off the strike and return to negotiations is a positive step towards resolving the labor dispute without further disrupting WestJet's operations.

However, the preemptive flight cancellations have already caused inconvenience for many passengers. The ongoing negotiations and potential CIRB arbitration will be crucial in determining a long-term resolution.

Other Key Updates

  • GPMS International has expanded its Foresight Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) to include two additional Airbus helicopter models, the H135 and AS332, bringing the total number of certified Airbus platforms to five. This expansion enhances the monitoring capabilities and safety features available for a broader range of Airbus helicopters.
  • Volato's first HondaJet equipped with SmartSky's next-generation inflight Wi-Fi technology has entered service, following their agreement to outfit Volato's entire HondaJet fractional fleet with SmartSky LITE systems. It enhances connectivity and passenger experience for Volato's private aviation customers.
  • Cirrus Aircraft has advised owners that using unleaded G100UL fuel in its SR-series piston airplanes may void the warranty. This warning from Cirrus came on June 19, 2024 regarding its top-selling piston aircraft models.

SITA Expands Operations-as-a-Service with ASISTIM Acquisition

Image credit: ASISTIM

SITA, a leading air transport technology provider, has acquired ASISTIM, a Germany-based provider of airline flight operations solutions. This acquisition will enable SITA to offer centralized airline Operations Control Center (OCC) services, marking a significant step into the operations-as-a-service market.

Key Points

  • The deal aims to help airlines address challenges like staff shortages, rising costs, and changing demands by outsourcing part of their operations to enhance efficiency and scalability.
  • SITA plans to leverage ASISTIM's expertise and service excellence to expand its OCC offerings and solidify its position as a go-to OCC provider.
  • The acquisition aligns with SITA's goal of making its capabilities and expertise available to airlines, whether through full OCC activities or a subset.
  • SITA intends to incorporate ASISTIM's operational insights into its software product development plans, further strengthening its air transport industry solutions.

What It Means

This strategic acquisition positions SITA as a major player in the operations-as-a-service market for airlines.

By combining ASISTIM's flight operations expertise with its own technology capabilities, SITA can offer airlines a comprehensive solution to outsource and streamline their operations.

This move addresses the industry's pressing needs for cost optimization, scalability, and operational efficiency, enabling airlines to focus on their core competencies while leveraging SITA's centralized services.

Other Key Updates

  • JetBlue announced that starting September 6, 2024, passengers with Blue Basic fares will be allowed to bring one free carry-on bag in addition to a personal item, a change from the previous policy of not including a carry-on with the cheapest fares. This move aims to improve the customer experience and keep JetBlue competitive with other major U.S. airlines that already include carry-ons for basic economy fares.
  • India has issued a tender worth around $6 billion to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 156 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) called 'Prachand', following a previous order for 97 Tejas fighter jets worth $8 billion. So, a $14 billion spending spree. These massive orders for indigenous aircraft like the LCA Tejas and LCH Prachand highlight India's push for self-reliance in defense manufacturing under the 'Make in India' policy.
  • Magellan Aerospace, in partnership with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), has secured a five-year contract to supply aircraft parts to DLA Aviation. This contract will involve the production and delivery of critical structural and engine components for military aircraft.