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Emirates News Agency – UAE Regulatory Laboratory issues license for electric VTOL aircraft

DUBAI, 14th March, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE Regulatory Laboratory, the General Secretariat of the Cabinet, has issued a license for an electric cargo aircraft as part of its efforts to promote sustainable and environmentally friendly transport and improve aviation sustainability in the UAE Industry. The permit aims to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging the adoption of clean energy and using technology and innovation to redefine the future of the logistics industry and its impact on the environment and climate.

The issuance of electric aircraft licenses is in line with RegLab’s national mission to align regulation with innovation by creating the necessary laws and regulations to keep pace with rapid developments and changes in various fields such as mobility, health, 3D printing technology, labor, and more. intelligence and so on.

Since its inception in 2019, RegLab has been collaborating with government entities and the private sector through an innovative operating model that includes experimentation, legislation, and integration of emerging technologies shaping the future.

RegLab has partnered with US multinational shipping, receiving and supply chain management company United Parcel Service (UPS) to issue a provisional license to test electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the UAE.

The new Sustainable Aircraft License provides a strong legislative framework for operating a new generation of cargo aircraft powered by clean energy, supporting the UAE’s efforts to roll out aggressive environmental initiatives and programs aimed at making the economic system more competitive.

Under the license, UPS will be able to begin its cargo operations using a new sustainable aircraft that complies with internationally accepted norms and standards for electric air cargo and transportation systems.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), highlighted the importance of the RegLab license as it provides interim legal provisions to advance the UAE’s journey towards net-zero emissions by 2050.

“The UAE is keen to adopt international best practices and advanced technologies in the air cargo industry,” he added.

The Minister of Economy noted that the UAE seeks to increase investment in the eco-friendly air transport sector and boost its contribution to the gross domestic product.

He added: “Our country has become one of the most efficient countries for air cargo. According to the best sustainability standards, the application of electric air cargo systems will have a positive impact on the industry.”

Maryam Al Hammadi, Minister of State and Secretary-General of the UAE Cabinet, said the UAE has made significant progress in the areas of sustainable development and combating climate change. She affirmed that the country is spearheading global efforts to tackle climate change and achieve sustainability, thereby contributing to shaping a better future for humanity.

She noted, “The Regulation Lab works with many experts, legislators from federal and local government entities, the private sector, and entrepreneurs. Keep pace with the demands of sustainable development and align the speed of regulation with the speed of innovation.”

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the GCAA has all the cadres and capabilities, in addition to having electric airstrip permission by promulgating several relevant regulations necessary to provide a safe operating environment for such aircraft, as well as regulations related to airworthiness and operations , as the authorities are currently conducting similar activities related to passenger transport.
He added: “We expect the pace of work on the project to pick up, especially with the announcement by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum during this year’s World Government Summit (approval of models for air taxi stations and design) after.”

Al Suwaidi pointed to the advantages of this type of intra-city air mobility compared to helicopters as it offers an easy and flexible means of mobility with operating costs, lower noise and environmentally clean energy. Finally, he highlighted anticipated challenges, such as airspace congestion with the entry of this new segment or category, that the GCAA will best address.

“These incredible aircraft provide the foundation for future solutions that reduce emissions from operations in the air and on the ground,” said Bala Subramanian, UPS Chief Digital and Technology Officer. “With the support of the UAE government, we are pleased to focus on meeting the needs of our business , customer and environmental needs.”

“Together with BETA Technologies, we are accelerating progress toward decarbonizing the future of flight, and these aircraft will help us get there,” said Laura Lane, UPS executive vice president and chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer. As a company, we are committed to being 100% carbon neutral by 2050. We have set clear targets to achieve this, including sourcing 30% of our aviation fuel from sustainable sources by 2035.”

“Both the UAE and UPS have established their global leadership positions through innovation, and we are excited to work with these forward-looking partners,” said Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO of BETA. “At BETA, we share this mindset and see the tremendous value in testing and operations that we will be able to achieve together. This is an opportunity to drive the development and adoption of electric aviation through real-world operations at global transportation hubs, and achieve ambitious goals to tackle the climate crisis.”

The UAE Regulations Lab, or RegLab, is dedicated to developing and testing sound regulations for emerging technologies. At RegLab, experts and regulators collaborate to develop legislation that keeps pace with innovation. RegLab’s ultimate goal is to create an agile and supportive legislative environment to pioneer “regulatory innovation” by developing legislation around emerging technologies in line with the UAE’s Centennial 2071 Plan.

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