Joby Aero has started the process to secure the FAA Part 135 air carrier certificate it will need to begin planned air taxi operations with its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. On July 29, the California-based company said that it is on track to secure this approval, along with type and production certificates for the model, in time to begin commercial services in the U.S. during 2024.
With the application for the air carrier certificate now filed, Joby expects to start the second of five stages required for approval during August when it submits additional materials and information to the FAA, including a full set of operating manuals. The next step will involve FAA inspectors visiting the company to evaluate its crew training sessions and witness flight operations first-hand. Joby believes it may be able to secure the air carrier certificate before the end of 2022.
In a July 29 statement, Joby said it plans to operate some existing, conventional aircraft as soon as it gets its air carrier certificate. It will subsequently add its as-yet-unnamed eVTOL aircraft to this Part 135 certificate once the vehicle has secured type certification, which is anticipated in 2023.
Based on information publicly confirmed by eVTOL aircraft developers, Joby would appear to have made the most progress in preparing to be a commercial aircraft operator. In Europe, Lilium has also progressed along this path, with a recent announcement that established aircraft operator Luxaviation will be its partner in securing the necessary EASA air operator certificate.
Joby’s preparations for commercial air services are being led by Bonny Simi, its head of air operations. She previously held senior operational and strategic positions with JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.
The company’s operations team also includes other experienced professionals with varied civil and military backgrounds. These include assistant director of operations Kellen Mollahan, a former U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft pilot; director of maintenance Matthew Lykins, an experienced safety inspector and auditor; director of flight standards and training Peter Wilson, a former lead test pilot with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter program; and aviation safety leader Jill Wilson, who previously held similar roles with Embraer, XOJet, and Cape Air.
“We’re excited to reach this milestone on the path towards becoming the first eVTOL airline in the world,” Simi commented. “We look forward to working closely with the FAA as we prepare to welcome passengers to a new kind of air travel, one that is environmentally friendly, quiet enough to operate close to cities and communities, and will save valuable time.”
Joby’s eVTOL aircraft will be operated with a single pilot on board. It will fly routes of up to 150 miles with a top speed of 200 mph.