Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), in collaboration with the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and The Department of Municipalities and Transport - Abu Dhabi (DMT), represented by Abu Dhabi Mobility (AD Mobility), unveiled the United Arab Emirate’s first operational vertiport for vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) at DRIFTx, an international event showcasing smart, autonomous, and sustainable urban mobility across air, land, and sea.

The temporary vertiport facility, constructed in line with the latest industry standards and regulations set by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), offers a glimpse into Abu Dhabi’s strategy to deliver one of the world’s most advanced sectors for electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) by 2026. AD Mobility will regulate the advanced air mobility sector in Abu Dhabi by working in conjunction with the UAE’s GCAA.

In this context, His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, remarked: "Our collaboration with ADIO and AD Mobility underscores our commitment to fostering innovation while maintaining the highest levels of safety and regulatory compliance in the rapidly evolving field of advanced air mobility. Events like DRIFTx play a crucial role in accelerating the development of advanced air mobility in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. By bringing together industry experts, innovators, and stakeholders, DRIFTx facilitates invaluable dialogue and collaboration that propels us toward a future where smart and sustainable urban air transportation is a reality."

The UAE's GCAA initiative in establishing the world's first national regulation on vertiports last year paved the way for advanced air mobility in the UAE, ensuring the availability of safe and suitable infrastructure to accommodate eVTOL aircraft. This bespoke regulation covers design, operations, and certification provisions for vertiports on land and in sea, demonstrating commitment to fostering innovation while prioritizing safety and regulatory compliance in the rapidly evolving aviation landscape."

The temporary vertiport facility unveiled at DRIFTx was approved based on these rigorous standards, ensuring the highest levels of safety for operations. By pioneering this regulatory framework, the UAE's GCAA sets an example for regulators worldwide, showcasing a proactive approach to facilitating the safe introduction of emerging technologies.

His Excellency Abdulla Al Marzouqi, Director General of AD Mobility, added: “The collaboration between ADIO and AD Mobility will see vertiports setup in strategic locations across Abu Dhabi, including major business hubs and tourism destinations. Once complete, the vertiport network will be a key enabler of Abu Dhabi’s SAVI cluster. Centred in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, it provides state-of-the art facilities and value-add services within an enabling regulatory environment for companies developing advanced technologies across air, land, and sea mobility applications. This is an exciting time for mobility in Abu Dhabi.”

Badr Al-Olama, Director General of ADIO, said: "Abu Dhabi’s vertiport network will mark a significant milestone in transport innovation and the future of mobility. Our partnership with AD Mobility is pivotal for creating robust infrastructure to make smart and autonomous vehicles a reality and part of everyday life, propelling us towards a more connected and efficient future. The network will create extensive commercial opportunities for transport infrastructure companies, creating economic development alongside technological advancement.”

ADIO engaged with experts in the advanced air mobility sector that have gathered in the capital for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Mobily Week and outlined the commercial opportunities available to develop the capital’s vertiport infrastructure network through Abu Dhabi’s public-private partnership (PPP) framework.

The plans announced are set to bolster Abu Dhabi’s Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster, and kickstart the development of required infrastructure to operationalise air taxis.  SAVI offers access to academia, sandboxes, R&D labs, testing and certification facilities, large scale workshops, hangars, manufacturing facilities, and global logistics integration. This has attracted some of the world’s most innovative eVTOL companies, including Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation.

Abu Dhabi’s public-private partnership (PPP) framework, which has successfully delivered major infrastructure projects from new school campuses to the replacement of street lighting with energy-efficient LEDs. This will create a series of new commercial opportunities in Abu Dhabi for local and international transportation infrastructure companies. ADIO is responsible for the facilitation, development and procurement of all infrastructure projects delivered through Abu Dhabi’s PPP framework.