Front End spearheads historic air taxi trial in Mecca

A successful demonstration of the first unmanned air taxi trial in Mecca is said to pave the way for future implementation of smart mobility solutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The first Air Taxi test is pictured underway in Saudi Arabia

The EHang air taxi with technology from Saudi company Front End conducts its successful trial in Mecca (Image: Front End)

Front End and Chinese manufacturer EHang worked together with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, the Ministry of Hajj, and the Ministry of Interior, marked a pivotal step towards a faster, more efficient, and sustainable Hajj.

Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA said: “The trial marks a major advancement in integrating advanced air mobility (AAM) solutions into Saudi Arabia’s aviation landscape. We are committed to the highest safety standards and seamless integration into existing air traffic systems. T

‘his trial acts as a proof of concept for multiple use cases and contributes to various AAM roadmap initiatives. We appreciate the instrumental support of Front End and EHang to mark this historic milestone for Saudi Arabia."

The annual Hajj pilgrimage presents unique logistical challenges. This innovative demonstration aims to streamline transportation during this sacred event, by efficiently moving pilgrims faster between key locations, ensuring a smoother and safer Hajj experience.

Majid Alghaslan, chairman and CEO of Saudi technology integrator, Front End, said: “We are at the forefront of this trailblazing trial, paving the way to a new era in smart mobility solutions, potentially revolutionizing Hajj transportation. Aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, our purpose is to foster a ‘Connected Kingdom,’ serving as a gateway for our partners to access growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. This achievement stands as a testament to the power of government-private partnerships in accelerating new technology adoption. Partnering with EHang made this pioneering solution a reality."

Conducted in a low-risk area within protected airspace, the trial was designed to help assist authorities in setting the right regulatory environment for the deployment of eVTOL aircraft which will redefine the Hajj experience by enhancing mobility, reducing congestion, and promoting sustainability.

“These eco-friendly marvels offer a cost-effective solution for urban transportation, tackling congestion while aligning perfectly with the Kingdom’s goals for a sustainable future. This advancement underscores Front End's dedication to national progress and its commitment to shaping a greener, more efficient tomorrow in mobility”, Majid said.

Crowds swarm around the air taxi after its successful trial flight in Mecca