Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority (RAKTA) and Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) have taken a significant move towards transforming tourism and transportation in the Emirate by signing a future-forward Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Skyports Infrastructure (Skyports), the company leading the development of vertiport infrastructure for electric air taxi services. Marking the beginning of an exciting partnership that will pioneer sustainable tourism through electric air mobility, this pivotal MoU will see Skyports develop a network of vertiports to connect key attractions across Ras Al Khaimah, propelling the Emirate as a destination of the future and aligning with RAKTA’s Strategic Plan 2030.

Under the agreement RAKTA, RAKTDA and Skyports will collaboratively design, develop, and operate Ras Al Khaimah’s first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi ecosystem, with commercial operations set to commence by 2027.

Network map: Planned locations for Skyports vertiports in Ras Al Khaimah

This innovative project will seamlessly integrate Skyports’ vertiport infrastructure with RAKTA’s existing transport network, providing fast and convenient zero-emission transport to Ras Al Khaimah’s most popular areas and attractions, including Al Marjan Island, Al Hamra and Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak. Tourists and residents visiting these iconic sites will experience substantial time savings from the service. For example, travelling from Al Marjan Island to Jebel Jais takes approximately 70 minutes by car. The launch of air taxi services will cut the journey time to less than 20 minutes.

The vertiport network will transform transportation in Ras Al Khaimah and support its objective of responsibly driving 3.5 million visitors annually by 2030. By providing zero-emission transportation options, the Emirate is reinforcing its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development. These ambitions align with Skyports’ design approach, which prioritises integration with existing public transit networks to promote more sustainable transportation. In addition, this initiative directly addresses the pressing need for innovative solutions to cut carbon emissions in ground transportation, a sector that accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the travel and tourism industry, as highlighted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Furthermore, it will unlock future opportunities to integrate with air taxi networks across the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Left to right: H.E Raki Phillips (RAKTDA), H.E Eng. Esmaeel Hasan Al Blooshi (RAKTA), Daniel O’Neill (Skyports)

H.E Eng. Esmaeel Hasan Al Blooshi, Director General of RAKTA added: “This partnership marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to revolutionise transportation in Ras Al Khaimah. By introducing electric air mobility, we’re not just connecting tourists to our attractions, we’re forging a sustainable path forward for our Emirate. This innovative project aligns perfectly with our commitment to enhancing accessibility while minimising our environmental impact, following our 2030 strategic plan. Together, we’re shaping a brighter, greener future for Ras Al Khaimah.”

H.E Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, sharing, “The support we’ve received from the UAE government and Ras Al Khaimah authorities has been phenomenal, enabling us to innovate at an unprecedented scale and pace. In the next two years, we aim to build the infrastructure and facilities for an electric-powered transit system that will redefine the way tourists experience Ras Al Khaimah. This collaboration also perfectly aligns with our commitment to sustainable tourism. By introducing electric air mobility, we not only enhance accessibility to Ras Al Khaimah’s attractions but also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. This initiative drives us closer to our goal of establishing Ras Al Khaimah as a regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025.”

Duncan Walker, CEO and founder of Skyports, commented: “We are eager to join forces with the leading transport and tourism organisations in Ras Al Khaimah to launch electric air taxi services in the Emirate. This collaboration further underscores our commitment to providing the essential enabling infrastructure for zero-emission aviation across the UAE. We look forward to contributing our expertise to realise Ras Al Khaimah’s ambitious transport and tourism goals.”

Today’s announcement further strengthens the UAE’s position as a leading market for the burgeoning advanced air mobility industry. Elsewhere, Skyports is leading the research, development and construction of vertiports, partnering with the world’s leading eVTOL companies to provide critical infrastructure for the launch of commercial passenger and cargo flight. In April this year, Skyports raised USD$110 million and onboarded new investor ACS Group to support its commercial launch.

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