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Saudi Arabia Unveils World’s First Flying Taxis For Pilgrims

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We’ve seen our fair share of ambitious projects be announced by Saudi officials in recent months, but this one definitely takes the crown for its unconventional nature. According to recent reports, Muslim pilgrims could soon be able to hail a flying cab to travel around Mecca and Medina when performing Hajj or Umrah.

As incredible as it sounds, the Kingdom just revealed plans to develop a new form of travel to reduce road congestion, facilitate emergency travels, and increase the speed of certain logistical operations. Having just completed a first round of trials in Mecca— backed by the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, the Ministry of Hajj, the Ministry of Interior and Front End Limited Company— the initiative aims to revolutionize the ways in which worshippers commute by making their trips easier, shorter, and more efficient.

Reportedly pilotless and controlled from the ground, these flying taxis will be able fit in two people and  “can fly without fuel for a distance of up to 40 kilometers, powered only by electricity, in full compliance with all safety parameters,” Saleh al-Jasser, KSA’s Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, told Saudi media outlet Al-Arabiyah. It was also revealed that with electric-fuel, these new planes could cover up to 250 KM and will be equipped with several eco-friendly devices to minimize environmental impact. Some outlets have reported that bigger airplanes could also be available, able to fit up to six people at once.

“We are following up on all the technologies available in order to be among the first countries that can benefit from these services, particularly in serving Hajj pilgrims,” he added.

Per a recently shared statement, this would be the “world’s first air taxi to be licensed by a civil aviation authority,” and is expected to fly from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to locations, including certain hotels, near holy sites. It is the country’s own national airline Saudia that will be operating these travels with about 100 vehicles ready-to-fly.

According to some sources, the service would already be ready to be used from this year’s Hajj season, which is expected to kick off on June 14.

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