Abu Dhabi-based manufacturer Monarch Holding and Chinese company EHang Holdings, a leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, have signed a partnership agreement to establish the first facility in the Middle East and North Africa to manufacture and operate sustainable, electric-powered aircraft and drones for passengers and cargo transportation in Abu Dhabi.

The announcement is in line with Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy’s initiatives, including Industry 4.0’s innovative technologies, new circular economy regulatory framework as well as green policies and incentives to continue its transition towards a smart, circular, and sustainable economy.

The cooperation aims to manufacture sustainable electric aircrafts and drones, establish a command-and-control center to manage the urban air mobility autonomously and build infrastructure, vertiports (take-off and landing platforms), and facilities for operating electric aircrafts and drones, as well as providing opportunities to qualify and train Emirati talent. The project contributes to revitalising markets and supporting local products by facilitating the flow of goods and merchandise to sales outlets, ports, and airports, enhancing trade.

The partnership will help establish an advanced infrastructure for vertiports and an autonomous flight management system operated by artificial intelligence, supporting sustainable and electric-powered commercial aircraft and drones, through cooperation with local entities, enabling Abu Dhabi to adopt urban aviation technologies. The project, which focuses on improving smart and sustainable mobility, will enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as the smartest city in the Middle East and North Africa.

Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said: “As part of its efforts to transition to the next phase of economic diversification, Abu Dhabi is focusing on knowledge-based, innovation-driven economic sectors. The Industrial strategy is a major factor to achieve our objectives as its programmes aim to enhance, encourage, and adopt methods and technologies of industry 4.0, circular economy, talent development, ecosystem enablement, homegrown supply chain, and value chain development.

“This partnership to manufacture and manage electric-powered aircraft and drones for cargo and passengers reflects the high level of our infrastructure for advanced and smart industries and developed legislative and regulatory frameworks in the emirate, which provides an attractive environment for innovations and investments in advanced industries and technological transformation. To ensure best conditions for investors and entrepreneurs, ADDED has launched many initiatives to enhance ease of doing business and trade, financing, and attract foreign direct investment.”

Hussain Ali Alomaeirah, Founder and Chairman of Monarch Holding, said: “This venture will support the future of the transportation sector in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in line with the government vision to enhance fundamentals of the smart city. It provides a new concept of cargo and passenger transportation, utilising advanced technologies, artificial intelligence, and sustainable energy with zero carbon emissions.

“Monarch is establishing partnerships with the world’s best manufacturer of electric aircrafts, and a designer and consulting company for the urban air mobility, which develops and operates the most advanced UAM systems in the world.”