On Thursday, May 26, Joby Aviation Inc stated that it had finally got a certification from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This would enable it to start its air taxi services commercially with a conventional airplane. This certification provides the necessary clearance, and comes forward as a prominent milestone. However, the company still has more regulatory challenges to overcome before it can legally fly passengers on the five-seater aircraft.
The Part 135 Air Carrier Certification of the FAA is among the three regulatory approvals required for the company’s planned launch of all-electric aerial ridesharing service in 2024. This certification would allow Joby to operate its planned taxi service. The service would include the operation of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in cities and communities across the US.
The Federal Aviation Administration stated they issued the company the Part 135 certificate on Thursday, May 19. Moreover, they said, this was following Joby completing the five-phase certification process, with one certificate- a CIRRUS-SR22. The company’s shares closed up 8%
Joby stated that its plans for the use of the conventional aircraft “to refine systems and procedures in advance of launching eVTOL service targeted for 2024.”
Concerned authorities enquired the FAA about the statement from Joby regarding the approval being way ahead of schedule with the closing of the process originally set to be towards the end of 2022. The FAA stated that it usually does not ‘set a schedule for applicants’ and could not speak ‘to their characterisation of the timing.’ In February this year, the piloted prototype aircraft of Joby was reportedly involved in an accident. This was at the time of a flight test at its base in California, however no injuries were reported.
Earlier in May, the administration stated that it brought some changes to approving pilots for future eVTOL aircraft. However, it stated, that it does not expect it cause any delays in certification or operational approvals. They stated that it was changing the approach as regulations made for airplanes and helicopters did not anticipate the requirement to train to use powered lift “which take off in helicopter mode, transition into airplane mode for flying, and then transition back to helicopter mode for landing.”
In the first quarter this year, Joby Aviation reported a net loss of $62.3 million, along with flagged costs connected to aircraft certification and early manufacturing operations.