WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Joby Aviation Inc said on Thursday it had received a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would allow it to begin its air-taxi operations commercially with a conventional airplane.
Although the certification gives the necessary clearance and is a significant milestone, the company still has additional regulatory hurdles to clear before its five-seater aircraft can legally fly passengers.
The FAA’s Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate is among the three regulatory approvals critical for Joby’s planned launch of all-electric aerial ridesharing service in 2024.
The certification would let Joby operate its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as an air taxi service in cities and communities across the United States.
The FAA said it issued Joby the Part 135 certificate on May 19 “after they completed the five-phase certification process. Joby has one aircraft on the certificate, a CIRRUS-SR22.”
Joby said it plans to use the conventional aircraft “to refine systems and procedures in advance of launching eVTOL service targeted for 2024.”
Joby shares closed up 8%.
Asked about Joby’s statement that the approval was ahead of schedule — with completion of the process originally expected in the second half of 2022 — the FAA said it “doesn’t set a schedule for applicants and can’t speak to their characterization of the timing.”
In February, Joby’s piloted prototype aircraft met with an accident during a flight test at its base in California but no injuries were reported.
Earlier this month, FAA said it had shifted course on its approach to approving pilots for future eVTOL aircraft but does not expect it to delay certification or operational approvals.
Joby reported a net loss of $62.3 million in the first quarter this year and flagged costs related to aircraft certification and early manufacturing operations.
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva & Shri Navaratnam)