A US-based aviation company — known for developing hybrid-electric aircraft for both regional distances and short-haul 'air taxi' routes — is launching operations in the UAE, it was announced on Friday.
The Ministry of Economy said Odys Aviation has officially joined its NextGen FDI program, which supports pioneering businesses in high-potential sectors so they can seamlessly launch and scale their operations in the country.
The company specifically produces hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that are designed for passengers, cargo and emergency services.
Odys Aviation’s aircraft will be able to deliver all-electric propulsion for 320km, with a hybrid-electric range of more than 1,200km. This means they have the potential to reduce carbon emissions on pan-GCC air travel by up to 76 per cent, and provide a zero-carbon travel alternative for all journeys across the UAE.
The California-based start-up plans to launch a full-scale prototype in 2025, with the aircraft entering into service in 2027.
Over 2,000 jobs
Powered by the MoE's NextGen FDI programme, the company will be able to set up a regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi, which will include a high-volume assembly and maintenance plant.
The move will create more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Emirates and would result in the export of the first aircraft manufactured under the “Made in the UAE” certification.
“The new partnership with Odys Aviation marks another important milestone in the UAE’s journey to create a knowledge-based economy, powered by innovation," said Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
"We see significant opportunities for the operation of Odys aircraft across the UAE in civilian, cargo and civil defence activities, and we look forward to developing a new sustainable, low-carbon aviation sector — from clean energy air travel through to advanced manufacturing and research and development capabilities. Our NextGen FDI program is helping to transform the UAE’s advanced manufacturing and industrial sector and create new clusters of excellence around world-changing ideas.”
Opportunities for domestic air connectivity
James Dorris, co-founder and CEO at Odys Aviation, said the UAE is the "perfect market" for the startup to establish a footprint.
"By bringing Odys to the UAE, we aim to partner with the existing strong aviation sector and leverage local supply chain opportunities. 2023 has been dedicated The Year of Sustainability here, and Odys is honoured to take part in transforming the energy ecosystem," he added.
"Our aircraft will also mean brand new opportunities for domestic air connectivity in the UAE and regional flying between key GCC cities, cutting door-to-door times in half compared to conventional travel options today, and doing so in a carbon friendly way.”
The move to the UAE builds on significant interest in the Odys Aviation aircraft. Despite being in relative stealth mode, the start-up has received pre-orders for more than 1,200 aircraft from operators and airlines around the world.
Launched in 2022, NextGenFDI aims to support the growth of the nation’s knowledge-driven economy by enabling rapid incorporation processes to speed up licensing, facilitating the issuance of bulk or golden visas, accelerating banking services, and providing commercial and residential lease incentives for advanced technology companies seeking to relocate to the UAE.
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