In a statement last week, Joby said it had received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration that would permit it to commence commercial air taxi operations with a conventional aircraft.
While the certification from the FAA provides necessary permissions, and is a very significant milestone for the company, Joby still has several hurdles to cross before its 5-seater aircraft can legally begin to fly passengers.
The company plans to commence its all-electric aerial ridesharing service in 2024, and the FAA’s approval is just one of three regulatory approvals required before it can do so.
The certification would permit the company to operate its eVTOL aircraft as an air taxi service in various communities and cities across the US.
The FAA said in a statement that it has issued the company a Part 135 certificate after they completed the five-step certification procedure. The company has a CIRRUS-SR22 aircraft on the certificate.
Joby said it intends to use the conventional aircraft to refine systems and procedures prior to launching the eVTOL service in 2024.
Joby Aviation share value rises
After the announcement, Joby shares were up by 8 percent.
When the FAA was asked about the company’s statement that the approval was ahead of schedule, the agency responded by saying that it does not set s schedule for applicants, and was not responsible for their perception of the timing of the approval.
Earlier this year, a piloted prototype aircraft operated by the company met with an accident during a test flight in California, but did not report any injuries.
Earlier this month, the FAA said it had changed its approach to approving pilots for future eVTOL aircraft but does not expect it to delay certification or operational approvals.
Joby reported a net loss of $62.3 million in the first quarter this year and attributed this to costs related to aircraft certification and early manufacturing operations.
About the company
The company was founded in 2009, with a small team of engineers working in a facility in the mountains above Santa Cruz, experimenting with aviation technologies, electric motors and lithium-ion batteries.
In 2012, Joby collaborated with NASA to test electric flight capabilities. In 2015, Joby launched its subscale demonstrator as proof of concept. The company successfully launched its full-scale demonstrator in 2017.
In 2019, testing began on the first pre-production prototype. Toyota invested in the company in 2019, while also providing a team of engineers for the Joby team to work alongside.
In 2020, the company received US Air Force approval for its eVTOL prototype, and gained access to on-base testing facilities, prior to launching a commercial model. The same year, the company partnered with Uber, in an agreement that would put its ‘air-taxi’ services on the Uber app.
The company recently received FAA certification for its commercial operations, which are scheduled to commence in 2024.